Abu Dhabi to host F1 GP from 2009
It was Bahrain in 2004, and now Abu Dhabi becomes the latest city to join the Formula-1 circuit after signing a seven-year contract with the Formula-1 Management recently.
Abu Dhabi F1 GP has been reported by many to be the most luxurious venue on the Grand Prix calendar. It’ll be a newly developed, state-of-the-art facility situated on Yas Island, a 2,550 hectare natural leisure island located in close proximity to the Abu Dhabi International airport. In addition to hosting the Formula-1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Island will feature; signature hotels, theme parks, 300,000 sq m retail area, golf courses, lagoon hotels, marinas, polo clubs, apartments and villas, and food and beverage outlets.
The track, designed by Hermann Tilke, will be 5.8 kilometres long, featuring the designer’s signature long straight leading into a slow hairpin. “It was initially a flat island, but we’ve created some man-made hills, so the track will rise up and down,” Tilke said. He added, “One part of the track is a permanent facility, and the other is 2.5-km city track through the streets [of Yas], and running in front of the marina.”
Formula One supremo Bernie Eccleston himself was certain this track will be Tilke’s best yet, said “The Tilke group has learnt its lessons from the tracks it built in the past and put all those lessons in to this track, we consider it will offer the best F1 racing in the world.” “We’re very committed to Abu Dhabi,” Eccleston told reporters at the ceremony, “It’s one of the great places in the world. We have a seven-year contract, but I’m sure the race will go on forever.” He added, “There were other places in the region interested in hosting Formula-1, but we obviously decided that Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are probably the best. There are actually five countries in waiting at this moment.”
Ecclestone confirmed that he wants to add night races to the championship calendar with Singapore among the candidates. “I was the one who suggested it so we’ll wait and see,” Ecclestone told reporters afterwards. “I would like to do one or two night races. It could be good in Japan or China.”