Facts and figures - Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marina Circuit 27 Oct 2009
This weekend Formula One racing will undertake two firsts - its inaugural event in Abu Dhabi and its maiden twilight race. To make the teams feel more at home in the Middle Eastern state, weve compiled a list of interesting facts and figures to help them get better acquainted with Abu Dhabi and the newly-built Yas Marina Circuit before they delight the fans at the Grand Prix
- Designed by renowned circuit architect Hermann Tilke, Yas Marina Circuit is 5.55 kilometres (3.4 miles) long and comprises 21 turns (12 left and nine right). Like Interlagos in Brazil and Turkeys Istanbul Park, Yas Marina is one of the few venues on the calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction.
- The lap boasts four main periods of acceleration, the longest equating to 1,173 metres, which is the longest straight of any 2009 Formula One track. With an estimated lap time of 1m 40s, the tracks top speed is a predicted 317km/h and its average speed 198 km/h. The width of the circuit fluctuates from 12-16m.
- In addition to the Formula One track, Yas Marina can be set-up to run two additional configurations, measuring 3.15 kilometres (1.9 miles) and 2.36 kilometres (1.46 miles) respectively. These two extra tracks can run independently of each other and thus make it possible for the circuit to hold two events simultaneously.
- Building the Yas Marina track was a massive project. The first soil was turned at the site back in February 2007 and by the sites completion, 14,000 workers had been on site and 35 million man hours had been expended. 1.6 million cubic metres of earthwork had been shifted, 720,000 square metres of asphalt had been laid, 225,000 cubic metres of concrete poured, while 30 kilometres of special electronic ducts, 25 kilometres of electrical cabling, 17 kilometres of drainage and 22 kilometres of irrigation piping had been installed. During the Grand Prix up to 900 volunteers will be drafted in to help with hospitality.
- Located on the north-east side of the Arabian Peninsula, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi occupies the western half of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). At around 75,000 square kilometres, Abu Dhabi is the largest of the UAEs seven Emirates, accounting for approximately 86 percent of the countrys total land area. Seventy percent of Abu Dhabi, however, is desert.
- The Yas Marina Circuit is part of Abu Dhabis Yas Island development, which covers an area of 25 square kilometres. In addition to the track, the islands development plans also include the soon-to-be-opened Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which will feature the worlds fastest rollercoaster, a Warner Brothers theme park and a water park.
- The fan and team accommodation at Yas Marina is second to none. One world first is that all of the grandstands, including the massive hairpin seating area, are covered to protect the estimated 50,000 spectators from the desert sun. The tracks team facilities are lavish too, with 70 garages in two pit buildings, while VIPs will watch the action from the 60-metre high Sun Tower. Located near the start/finish straight, the solar-powered tower is high enough to offer panoramic views of all the action, and luxurious enough to satisfy even the most demanding luminaries.
- August tends to be when Abu Dhabi is at its hottest with an average temperature of 34.9 degrees Celsius. It starts to cool down in September (average 32.5 degrees) with temperatures in November, when the race will be held, dropping considerably to 24.4 degrees. January is the wettest month, with minimum rainfall of 22mm, while May through October sees very little rainfall, if any.
- Abu Dhabi City is the worlds richest city, with the average net worth of the 420,000 permanent citizens estimated at US$17 million. The official currency of the UAE is the dirham (abbreviated to Dhs or AED), with each dirham divided into 100 fils. Dirham notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 denominations, while coins come in Dhs 1, 0.5, 0.25.
- Unusually the pit-lane exit crosses under the circuit. It has been estimated that if a driver plans to stop just once during the 55-lap Abu Dhabi race, hell come into the pits between Laps 27-33. If he plans a two-stop strategy, hell stop between Laps 16-27 and then between Laps 35-41. A three-stop strategy, meanwhile, will involve stopping between Laps 14-19, then between Laps 25-30, and finally between Laps 38-43.
- In August race organisers revealed the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix would begin at 5pm, two hours later than originally scheduled. This means the race will get underway at dusk and end in the dark, making it Formula One racings first-ever twilight race. The track was built from the outset to host day and night-time activities, with 24 40-metre tall outfield floodlights providing horizontal lighting, boosted by seven smaller 15-metre infield fixtures. The lights will be on from the start of the race to ensure a seamless transition from daylight to dark.
- The 500 bedroom, five-star Yas Hotel is the first hotel to sit astride a race track. Its outer walls feature an extraordinary 5000 LED panel Grid-Shell, which is programmed to change colour. Expect some astonishing light shows over the course of the weekend.
- Yas Island is just one of the 200 islands that form Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Located east of Abu Dhabi City, Yas Island is just 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. A newly-built 10-lane highway will connect the airport, Yas Island, Saadiyat Island and Abu Dhabi Citys centre.
- In addition to the Grand Prix, the track will host the GP2 Asia, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Chevrolet Supercar Middle East series during the race weekend. The circuit also hopes to run an intensive programme of international and national events throughout the year. At the track theres also drag racing, an off-road driving centre, a state-of-the-art kart centre and even a driving school.
- Etihad Airways will be the title sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix until 2011. The airline made its first commercial flight in November 2003 and since then has grown faster than any other in commercial aviation history.
- The UAE is an Islamic country. There are roughly 150 mosques in Abu Dhabi City and more than 2,500 in the Emirate as a whole. Abu Dhabi City has been built to a strict grid pattern, but because all mosques look to Mecca, all are situated at a slight angle to the modern buildings.