The Abu Dhabi Yas Marina grand prix circuit hosts the second last GP of 2011 this weekend. Abu Dhabi is the most oil-rich in the region and ‘home’ to some well-heeled ‘visitors’ from Thailand.
The 5.55 kilometer Yas Marina Circuit was constructed using the motorists’ money, extracted at the petrol pumps. Roll on electric power! It was also one of the most boring race tracks in living memory at its debut and last year was no better, universally christened ‘Yawn’ Marina. My report in 2010 contained the phrase: “The race was processional and quite frankly, another bore-fest.” Despite the advent of the overtaking aids KERS and DRS, I cannot see KERS and DRS producing the excitement required by the spectators, as after all, neither of these aids did anything to assist the Indian GP.
Located on Yas Island, the PR blurb said the track was set to revolutionize the design of future Formula One circuits. Boasting top speeds of 320 km/h and average speeds of 198 km/h, it features nine right turns and 11 left turns and is one of the few venues on the calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction.
It was designed by circuit architect Hermann Tilke (so need I say more), and Yas Marina has a waterfront setting scenic enough to rival the likes of Monaco and Valencia, complete with a hotel that changes color, but was just as boring as that former pair of venues.
All of the grandstands, including the massive hairpin seating area, are covered to protect spectators from the desert sun, whilst the state-of-the-art pit building boasts 40 garages.
As well as the waterside marina area, there are high-speed sections, tight corners for overtaking (or so they tell us), and even a twisty street circuit-style sector. However, none of this prevents Yas (Yawn) Marina from being boring if the F1 cars cannot pass each other. However, always the optimist, I shall be there glued to the screen in hopeful anticipation.
The race will start at 8 p.m. our time Sunday (Qualifying is also 8 p.m. on the Saturday), and I will be getting to Jameson’s Irish Pub around 7 p.m. for a bite to eat (specials are great value) and a glass or two. Come and join us for the third Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Jameson’s is on Soi AR, next to Nova Park serviced apartments and we watch the BBC telecast on the huge screen with no adverts.