Abu Dhabi - Yas Island
Yas Marina Circuit
|First Grand Prix||2009|
|Circuit length||5.554 km|
|Number of laps||55|
|Race distance||305.355 km|
|Lap record||1:39.283 - Hamilton (2019)|
When was the track built?
In 2006, plans were announced to develop Yas Island, located just to the east of Abu Dhabi, into a new tourist destination, with a major part of the plans centring around a 5.5km race track. The diggers rolled into what would become the Yas Marina Circuit in May 2007, with the project completed by October 2009.
When was its first Grand Prix?
In 2009. The track debuted as that year’s Formula 1 season finale, with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel winning from team mate Mark Webber and the already-crowned 2009 champion Jenson Button. Vettel would go on to secure his first title in Abu Dhabi a year later, amid much crying.
What’s the circuit like?
The Hermann Tilke-designed track is dominated by its 1.2km straight between Turns 7 and 8 – which, with slow-speed corners marking its beginning and end, makes it a honeypot for overtaking moves. Other highlights include the tricky run through Turns 15 and 16 into 17, which forces the drivers to brake hard with bags of lateral load still on the car.
Yas Island was a blank canvas for developers to turn into a tourist attraction, and 11 years and $40 billion later, they’ve nearly finished doing just that. Seven hotels, Ferrari’s indoor theme park, a mall, a water park, a golf course, a beach, a concert arena and a nightclub, all framed by perfect Emirati weather. What more could you want?
Where is the best place to watch?
Assuming you can’t get a room with a trackside view in the spectacular whale-shaped Yas Hotel – or a berth in a boat’s cabin in the marina – opt for a spot in the West Grandstand, a great place to watch all the overtaking action into Turn 8. Or if you’re more there for the atmos, stick yourself in the Main Grandstand overlooking the start-finish straight and enjoy Abu Dhabi’s famed pyrotechnics. It might be worth trying to get a seat high up in whatever grandstand you choose, though, if you’re looking to keep out of the sun.