Built to host the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, the Yas Marina circuit is one of the most advanced in the world. Completed in 2009, the circuit has been funded to the tune of around £800 million, and is also tied into a range of theme parks and other events on the man made Yas Island. With revenues from Mercedes f1 merchandise and television rights accompanying the success of the circuit, how was it first developed and put together, and what notable events have taken place at Yas Marina over the past few years?
The Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina circuit was the second to be completed in the Middle East after a track created in Bahrain. Ground was first broken on Yas Island in 2007, with the circuit completed in late 2009. The huge cost of the new, state of the art circuit was at least part funded by the Abu Dhabi government, with Etihad Airlines currently representing its main sponsor - multiple commercial opportunities have also been developed around the circuit, which can hold 50,000 people.
The circuit itself stretches over about 3.451 miles, and features 21 turns. The track also includes a shorter, 2,920 mile route that’s used for other racing events. The route runs through the major attractions of the man made Yas Island, which includes sand dunes and a track length lighting system that means races can be held into the evening, easing some of the heat problems faced by Middle Eastern sporting events. Special surface material was imported from England to be used on the track.
Since the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 1st, 2009, the Yas Marina circuit has alternated between being the penultimate and the third last circuit for the Formula One season. The rights to the F1 event are also currently extended to 2016, with expectations that funding will continue to come from the Abu Dhabi government and Etihad. Sebastian Vettel won the inaugural event, as well as the subsequent race in 2010. Lewis Hamilton took the 2011 event, with Kimi Raikkonen winning in 2012.
Visitors to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix can also explore the various attractions on Yas Island, which cost around $36 billion to complete. Other attractions on the island include Waterworld, an Ikea, and a Ferrari World, which is themed after the Formula One team. Rides include a Formula Rossa roller coaster, 3D shows, Junior GY rides, and 25 minute live events, as well as Italian dining.
To date, the Yas Marina circuit has been a success, albeit one bankrolled by the wealth of Abu Dhabi. Visiting the event for a Grand Prix is still very expensive, especially if you’re planning to stay on a hotel on the island. Visitors to Yas Marina and Yas Island can also take in other racing events throughout the year, which include GP2 and GP3 races, as well as the Porsche Super Cup. This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be held from the 1st to the 3rd of November, and will be followed by the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and the final Grand Prix of the season in Brazil on the 24th of November.
Author Bio: Lisa Jane is a life-long Formula One fan. She collects Mercedes F1 merchandise and other official collectables. She hopes to one day raise the money to visit Yas Island for a Grand Prix.