The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was announced in early 2007 at the Abu Dhabi F1 Festival in the United Arab Emirates. The first race took place on November 1, 2009, held at the Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina Circuit.
On June 25, 2008 the FIA announced the provisional 2009 Formula One calendar including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the 19th and final race of the season on November 15. On November 5, 2008, however, it was announced that the race would be held as the season finale on November 1, two weeks before the initially planned date, as the 17th and final race.
The inaugural race was Formula One's first ever day-night race, starting at 17:00 local time. Floodlights used to illuminate the circuit were switched on from the start of the event to ensure a seamless transition from daylight to darkness. Subsequent Abu Dhabi Grands Prix have also been day-night races.
Designed as an Arabian version of Monaco, the twenty-one corners twists through the man made island off the Abu Dhabi coast, passing by the marina and through the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel designed and conceived of by New York based architects Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, Asymptote Architecture, and winding its way through sand dunes, with several long straights and tight corners.
The marina-based development includes a theme park, a water park, as well as residential areas, hotels and beaches.
The circuit has five grandstand areas (Main Grandstand, West Grandstand, North Grandstand, South Grandstand and Marina Grandstand (aka Support) and part of its pit lane exit runs underneath the track. It also houses a team building behind the pit building, Media Center, Dragster Track, VIP Tower and Ferrari World Theme Park. Additionally, one of the gravel traps runs underneath the West grandstand.
The circuit has few potential overtaking spots. From turns 2, 3, 4 down to 5 will be a good place as a car which has good speed out of Turn 4 could get beside a fellow driver and outbrake them. After turn 7 the second longest straight on the Formula One calendar (after the back straight at the Korea International Circuit) is ended with a heavy braking chicane at turn 8. Finally the long curve down to turn 11 as the potential for overtaking. The pit exit of circuit runs under the actual track through a tunnel. Also, part of the track runs through one of the on site hotels.
Location : Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Capacity : 50,000
Length : 5.554 km (3.451 miles)
Turns : 21
Lap record : 1:40.279 ( Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2009)