Abu Dhabi Grand Prix launch pictures

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Abu Dhabi - the track goes under a hotel, and the pit lane goes under the track...
Abu Dhabi - the track goes under a hotel, and the pit lane goes under the track...

During the Chinese Grand prix weekend F1 teams were shown pictures of the new venue that will host the first ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the Yas Island Marina circuit. It will hold the final round of the 2009 F1 season.

Here are 33 high-resolution pictures showing the track design, layout, construction work and F1 personalities inspecting the plans.

The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke but the construction is being handled by Philippe Gurdjian, the man behind the re-design of the Circuit Paul Ricard, now known as the High Tech Test Track.

Gurdjian has kept the layout envisaged by Tilke, but plans for it to be a hybrid road/street course have been dropped – it will be an pure road course instead. However a number of unusual features remain.

Its seating capacity is fairly low – 50,000 spectators, while most F1 tracks can accommodate tens of thousands more.

A hotel is an integral part of the complex and the F1 circuit actually runs through it. F1 personnel can stay at the track and walk into the paddock complex.

The pit lane exit passes underneath the circuit to rejoin the track.

You can see more of these unusual features in the pictures below. Click once to preview, then click the preview for a hi-res version.

More on the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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21 comments on “Abu Dhabi Grand Prix launch pictures”

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  1. bit of a sharp and simple track

  2. yorricksfriend
    27th October 2008, 7:54

    joy another street circuit for a boring procession with no overtaking, designed by…surprise surprise, herman tilke, come on surely there are other people to design circuits, we need some different designers to create a range of tracks, not all the same guy making new tracks all the time

  3. Having difficulty finding the pitlane, and that unusual pit exit. Can anyone help me out?

    At least Tilke seems to be trying something new this time, but the fancy bits shouldn’t overshadow the track, which itself should have strong racing fundamentals.

  4. Yorricksfriend – It’s not a street circuit any more, read what I wrote.

    Journeyer – If you zoom in on pics 21 and 22 (‘Abu Dhabi Yas Island Marina Grand Prix circuit’) you can see it (best on 22).

  5. It must be like building a great big Scalextric track. Just make an island and configure the circuit around it how you want.

  6. The hotel looks like the Esplanade in Singapore, and the pitlane looks interesting.

    In the picture of the “priceless view”, the red-and-white (McLarens?) are near the back of the pack! Tsk ;)

  7. Chris – one McLaren is leading the pack ahead of a Ferrari while the other isn’t too far behind a Williams.They are in their silver/black West livery from a few years ago

    Yet another nice looking Tilkedrome – it makes me wonder though what’s going to happen with the circuits when they’ve done hosting F1 races though seeing as there isn’t a lot of motorsport in those places.

  8. Yeah the ‘priceless view’ one seems to show 2002-era cars – I think the red and white ones are supposed to by Toyotas, plus there’s Jaguar and Arrows in there. Makes you realise how colourful the grid was a few years ago! I assume ‘priceless view’ refers to the cost of admission…

  9. 50,000? Maybe they do not expect many to visit the track. Must be made for the mega rich F1 fans and not the Burger bun British GP or large sausage German GP fans then.

    They could build a bigger grandstand at the main hairpin. With a big screen TV opposite you could then see 50% of the track from there and watch the rest on the large screen.

    But for some real balls driving, think about the drag racers running down that drag strip! One failed parachute deployment and that’s not something I’d want to think about.

  10. but plans for it to be a hybrid road/street course have been dropped – it will be an pure road course instead. However a number of unusual features remain.

    could you please clarify this Keith, you state to Yorrickfriend that he should read what you wrote, you state its a road course as opposed to a street circuit?, so Monaco is a boulevard circuit and Valencia is an avenue race?.

    sorry being facetious, do you mean that Yas is now purpose built race track?

  11. francois – Ah, I just realised. Thanks though.

    Keith – But seeing the number of grandstands, probably almost all admission fees are near priceless anyway.

    There is lots of space for more grandstands, and they certainly have the financial capability to build more. What’s the reason for having so few? It doesn’t seem very practical to me, seeing as F1 is supposed to increase revenue\publicity for the country and ticket sales are a big part of that.

    I haven’t been following F1 for an extremely long time, so i’m a little lost in some areas…

  12. Sush – Yep, purpose built track, no street parts.

  13. I don’t like how they’ve shoved a slow chicane in before that first hairpin. That could have been an overtaking point if it weren’t for the chicane. At least they’ve added the tarmac there so it could be a straight run in the future.

  14. Can’t tilke use gravel runoff?
    Tarmac is an eyesore, and the cars can just drive straight off the track without any problem…

  15. yorricksfriend
    27th October 2008, 13:24

    fair enough keith, when i read road and street in means the same thing to me – the circuit looks to complex and some of the best circuits are simple, like monza, whereas valencia and hungary – two very complex circuits provide relatively uneventful races.

  16. The track goes anti-clockwise according to the arrow on the start-finish straight. I would have thought the layout suited a clockwise direction?

  17. To me it brings back memories of the Las Vegas ‘car park’, only this time its a purpose built car park! At least its a bit more interesting than Valencia.
    The Pit-Lane is an interesting idea, and slicing through the hotel – will there be seating inside the building? It would have been fun to have the cars dive under the hotel, with a viewing gallery on either side.
    I agree that the seating capacity is well below what we’d expect – will the ticket prices be high enough to make it exclusive? Perhaps there will be more grandstands in later years. One thing ‘European’ circuits haven’t learnt from America is putting grandstands all round the track.
    And why isn’t the Drag Strip part of a long straight? they won’t have the two going simultaneously – will they?
    As for what else could race there – A1GP, Superleague Formula, Japanese Touring Cars, Aussy V8s, and various motorbike series are all candidates for a new circuit in the Middle East.

  18. Interesting fast 1st sector and generous back straights. Awful Singapore-like final part with the 90ยบ angled corners (they are a really awkward way to force the track into the hotel and around the dock.) It also looks more suited to go clockwise (that would provide a tighter 1st corner and some more action at the start). Love the triple chicane at the end of the second back straight, it looks like what the triple chicane at Singapore should have been like. Some pictures also seem to suggest gentle gradients, anyone knows how flat is this really?

  19. I still think it’s shaped like a machine gun.

    The more tunnels they add, the less “real” the circuits seem. I don’t have any complaints at a glance.

  20. Does anyone have any idea how I go about making hotel reservations at the newly (maybe not even complete yet) built Yas Marina Hotel in Abu Dhabi??? Please help. I have some VVIP’s looking for the best digs at the best spot on the track. Thanks!

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