- Circuit type Race
- Circuit Length 5.554kms
- Circuit Turns 21
- Circuit Direction anti-clockwise
- Capacity 50,000
- Established 2009
- Designer Hermann Tilke
|First race||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||November 1, 2009||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||full results|
|Last race||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||November 26, 2017||Valtteri Bottas (FIN)||full results|
The circuit is one of very few on the F1 calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction, and it is also unique as the only track with an underground pit lane. Leaving the track on the right, it crosses underneath and rejoins on the left. Concerns were raised that the tunnel was too narrow and dangerous, and any accidents would be difficult to clear quickly.
Granted the final go-ahead by the FIA in 2009, Bruno Senna was the first driver to complete a test lap during the GP2 testing. When the teams arrived in Abu Dhabi for the season finale in October 2009, not a single driver had driven the track.
Much more spectator-friendly than soulless near-neighbour Bahrain, some drivers have complained the circuit is too safe. "The car can go everywhere, cutting off corners, and you don't ever lose time," moaned Adrian Sutil after the 2009 grand prix. "That can make racing very boring. There's no real flow." Purists also lamented the need to build chicanes on a new track given their only purpose was to slow down cars on existing circuits.
Yas Marina made history when the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hosted F1's first day-night race, starting at twilight with the race finishing in the dark. Floodlights were used from the start of the event to illuminate the circuit and ensure a seamless transition from light to dark. Lewis Hamilton started the race on pole but was forced to retire with brake problems. Sebastian Vettel won the race, the fifth victory of his F1 career, beating team-mate Mark Webber and 2009 champion Jenson Button to seal second place in the championship.
Jo Carter November 2009