On November 1st, 2009 the first Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi took place on the Yas Marina Circuit. Designed chiefly by the German engineer Hermann Tilke, the 5.55-kilometre circuit saw the biggest names in motor racing compete at speeds up to 325 kilometers per hour. This event is one of only a few to be held in Asia and one of the only two to be held in the Middle East region, with Bahrain being the other.
The track features nine right hand turns and twelve left turns and runs in an anti-clockwise direction. This glamorous event is the biggest in the United Arab Emirates and attracts up to sixty thousand people each year. The race is held at twilight and spectators can watch the sun set as some of the biggest names in motor sports race around the floodlit track. Visitors can enjoy the racing from several viewing positions one of which is the 499 room Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel. Boasting a sixty meter solar powered Sun Tower the hotel offers an unrivalled view of the track.
There are several grandstands which are all under cover to protect visitors from the desert sun and the pit has forty air conditioned garages ensuring comfort for all who attend.
The following are some important snippets about the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix:
- The circuit doubles up during the non-race season as a major tourist destination, with the Ferrari World also located next to it commemorating the achievements of the iconic auto racing brand.
- It has been constructed on the picturesque Yas Island just off Abu Dhabi.
- It was the first ever night race to be held.
- Racers and fans travel from all over the world with major presence being from the traditional European F1 giants; this compels instructions in various languages to be put up especially in English and Arabic.
- The national carrier, Etihad Airways, has been the principal sponsor since the event began in 2009.
- The German engineer Hermann Tilke was the chief designer of the track and another German Sebastian Vettel has won the event the maximum number of times along with Englishman Lewis Hamilton.