An expert´s guide to Yas Marina motorsports

Since its inaugural racing event in 2009, the Yas Marina Circuit has hosted some of the most highly anticipated races on the Formula 1™ calendar. Take advantage of expert advice from F1™ editor at Chris Medland to start planning your 2015 visit to Abu Dhabi today.

Most recently, the circuit played home to the grand finale of the 2014 Formula 1 season, in the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Chris felt it was a weekend event filled with tension and world-class racing talent.

"It was a dramatic weekend," he tells us, "with Sebastian Vettel confirmed as Fernando Alonso's Ferrari replacement, the Red Bulls being disqualified from qualifying - with Daniel Ricciardo in particular fighting back brilliantly, and then Lewis Hamilton leaping off the line into the lead to take his second world championship as team-mate Nico Rosberg's challenge faltered due to reliability issues.

"Felipe Massa pushed Hamilton close, though, shutting him down in the final laps and it was a spectacular end to the 2014 season as fireworks exploded over the circuit at the chequered flag.

With Rosberg seeking retribution, the 2015 season promises competition until the very end. If you're planning to attend next year's Formula 1™ Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, you would do well to heed Chris' advice for an unforgettable weekend.


Yas Marina Circuit: designed for the future

Despite the track's modern design, the Yas Marina Circuit can be punishing. We ask Chris to comment on the location's design and what travellers can expect on race-day. "The Yas Marina Circuit feels like a track built for F1's future," he replies.

"Racing under floodlights, around a marina, under a hotel and with a pit lane that exits through a tunnel are all just unique aspects that many new circuits don't have. While modern F1™ tracks don't always punish mistakes, Yas Marina has sections where the walls are close and fans are too.

"With high-speed corners, low-speed corners, long straights, adverse cambers and kerbs that can be attacked, it's a pretty thorough test of an F1™ car."

For the best panorama view during your visit, Chris recommends sitting in the north grandstand at the Turn 7 hairpin. He adds, "the best spot to sit as a fan though is the West grandstand at turns eight and nine, where you see the amazing braking abilities of the cars from top speed and plenty of overtaking, while also being able to overlook the final two corners."

To make sure you get full enjoyment out of race-day, Chris reveals a few travel-hacks that can help. "Don't forget to bring plenty of water as you'll spend a long time at the track during Friday and Saturday, with the first sessions of the day taking place in the early-afternoon heat," he advises.

"Ear plugs are no longer essential for F1™, but Yas Marina also attracts GP2 and GP3 and the former remains very loud. All of the grandstands are covered, but as the sun sets it can get in your eyes so make sure you have sunglasses and a hat of some kind with you too."


The ultimate racing paradise

Formula 1™ isn't the only marquee racing event in the Yas Marina calendar, and travellers can enjoy a wealth of events and turbo-charged activities all year round. Chris tells us what makes it a pristine location for motorsport fans, and explains that the setting sun makes for a stunning back-drop as the floodlights kick in and events enter their final stretches.

He continues, "Add in the location on Yas Island with Ferrari World (above) next door and hotels right by the circuit and you can really immerse yourself in an F1™ weekend by never being more than a mile away from the track."

"A visit to Ferrari World - and the incredible acceleration of its rollercoaster, is a must," he advises, "as is the waterpark next door. Yas Mall opened over the 2014 race weekend and as the biggest shopping mall in the world you'll be hard-pushed to get bored. If it's real luxury you're after, then get yourself along to one of the yacht parties over the race weekend; they're even more lively than Monaco."

But if you want to live life like a pro race driver, it is possible to pay to drive around the Yas Marina circuit and get behind the wheel of some seriously powerful and expensive vehicles. Chris says, "The best driving experiences take place at the Yas Marina Circuit, and there are plenty to choose from.

"There's a tight and twisty kart track at the circuit, which is a good test of fitness as well as driving skill. For something a little bigger, then you can pay to drive an Aston Martin or Chevrolet Camaro, or for the very advanced there is the F3000 car.

"There's also drifting schools and some exhilarating passenger rides to be had at the track, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time after the race - perhaps a week, for the F1™ teams to pack up and move on so you can have a go yourself."

So if you fancy yourself as a budding Lewis Hamilton – or if you just want to experience one of the finest racing circuits in existence, why not plan ahead and consider a trip to the luxurious Yas Island, and its exquisite marina track while staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island?

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