Formula 1 is coming back to Abu Dhabi on 21-23 November weekend. This will be the sixth GP in the Etihad Airways circuit that, this year, will host the final race of the season. With Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton battling for title and leadership in the Mercedes team, the Abu Dhabi race promises to offer fans a show worth the wait.
The Abu Dhabi race has been, so far a race, for champions. In fact, it has been won in three occasions by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel (2009, 2010, 2013) who also has the lap record (1:40:279) and one time each by world champions Kimi Raikkonen (2012) and Lewis Hamilton (2011).
The first Abu Dhabi GP was raced in 2009; it was held on the Yas Marina circuit, a 5.554 Km track located on the beautiful Yas Island and enjoying a glamorous waterfront view. The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke, a German civil engineer with a passion for motorsports who has designed many of the newest high-profile circuits.
The circuit not only enjoys a view of the island marina and of the hundreds of yachts that are moored around it, but it is also famous for its spellbinding atmosphere as it’s normally raced at twilight thanks to a powerful lightning system.
The track is designed with comfort in mind. The five circuit grandstands are covered to protect spectators during the 55 laps of the F1 race. A massive, designer-conceived 499-room five-star hotel, the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel, is located on the circuit; the Sun Tower, a 60-meter construction, affords views to remember to VIP guests. A water park and a theme park are nearby. The team’s comfort was also on the designers’ mind with a pit lane that hosts 40 garages with air conditioning.
The circuit, however, is also notable for its racing features. The surface has been highly praised for its impressive grip and was created with four thousand tons of Bayston Hill’s Graywacke aggregate shipped directly from the Bayston Hill Quarry near Shrewsbury, England. The average speed reached on the track is an impressive 195 Kmh with a 320 Km/h top speed. Twenty total turns (nine right and eleven left) surround the longest straight of all F1 circuits and are made for spectacular overtaking.