“It’s a very impressive facility and the track layout is fun, so it’s a great place.” Felipe Massa
With just a few days until the start of this year’s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2017 weekend at Yas Marina Circuit the excitement is bubbling over in the capital. Abu Dhabi is prepped and ready to deliver another show-stopping four-day F1 season finale from 23rd – 26th November.
British driver Lewis Hamilton may have already clinched the 2017 championship title (at the Mexican Grand Prix last month) but that will not deter each and every driver’s determination to win the season finale race and stand at the top of the Yas Marina Circuit Podium.
Here’s anexpatabroad’s guide to the exciting 2017 F1 weekend ahead ……
On the Track
The ninth (I can’t actually believe we have been here for nine F1’s) Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend will start on Thursday 23rd November with the Pit Lane Walk* from noon until 4:15 pm. Ticket holders can get a sneak peek inside the garages, maybe spot a driver or two and witness the the teams preparing for a weekend of fast-paced racing action. *The pit lane walk is exclusive to three-day F1 ticket holders.
Friday sees the first day of F1 practice sessions and the first glimpse of the cars on the track at the Yas Marina circuit. Support race practice sessions and GP2/GP3 final practice sessions will also be taking place. F1 qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon, the all-important sessions that decide who will be in pole position for the final F1 race of the 2017 season. GP2 and GP3 final qualifying sessions will also take place on Saturday – click here for the schedule.
Sunday is Race Day! Official start time is 5pm, be in your seats by 4.45pm to enjoy the pre-race customs of the UAE National anthem and Etihad Airways flyover. With five different grandstands as well as the Abu Dhabi Hill and hospitality options, there’s plenty of opportunities to watch the world’s only twilight Grand Prix race.
If you haven’t already purchased your tickets you may still be lucky, limited tickets are still available in the South and Marina Grandstands as well as a new allocation of Abu Dhabi Hill Friday-only tickets. Buy tickets via www.gootickets.com, Yas Marina Circuit Call Centre (800 927) or +971 (0) 2 659 9800 or in person at all Etihad Shops, Virgin Megastores, Yas Central Express stand at Yas Mall. Alternatively purchase via YasHUB smartphone app and its Facebook shop www.facebook.com/yasmarinacircuit. One parking pass is included for every 3-day ticket package purchased.
Alongside the daily trackside action, Yas Marina Circuit will house the F1 village from Thursday to Saturday with plenty of food, beverage and retail outlets as well as themed activities and entertainment.
The ‘GP Parks Pass’ is a three-day package that allows unlimited access to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, Kids GO FREE Friday permits adult three-day Grandstand ticket holders to bring up to four children under 12 to the event.
So who will be entertaining the crowds in this year’s after-race concerts? This year’s Yasalam (meaning wow) line-up includes some big names in the entertainment world from superstar DJ’s to an American rock chick. The fun starts under the canopy of Ferrari World on Super Thursday with internationally renowned Scottish DJ, record producer and songwriter Calvin Harris. No stranger to Du Arena, Harris previously performed there as part of Creamfields in 2013, he’s known for his upbeat tunes (such as This is What You Came For ) and many artist collaborations. As this concert clashes with the Ed Sheeran gig in Dubai where lots of people appear to heading, it could be a quiet affair.
Announced just last week hip-hop producer and rapper J Cole will be back performing in Abu Dhabi replacing original Friday night artist Kendrick Lamar. Expect tracks from his newest album 4 Your Eyez Only and some old favourites too. Award-winning British folk four-piece band Mumford & Sons will perform on Saturday with banjos in hand and their own unique style, expect favourites such as I Will Wait and Little Lion Man
P!nk will not just Get The Party Started as per her hit song but also closing things off in spectacular style on Sunday night. Following in the footsteps of other American finale acts such as Aerosmith, the late Prince and Eminem won’t phase this pop diva with a career fifteen singles in the top ten under her belt. Be prepared for an entertaining set list and a high energy concert. I’m looking forward to personal favourites Just Give Me A Reason and What About Us.
Du Forum will be hosting the largest EDM (Electronic Dance Music) event Abu Dhabi has ever seen with a trio of top international DJs from 24th – 26th November. New for 2017, Beyond The Track, will see Martin Garrix (Thursday), Carl Cox (Friday) and Tiesto (Saturday) all perform – visit www.alchemy-project.com for more information.
The free Beats on the Beach programme, that ran alongside the concerts at Du Arena since the inaugural Abu Dhabi F1 race is sadly not happening this year.
It’s not a F1 weekend without a F1 party, right? The best place to enjoy the party is at the marina which will be full of boats of all shapes and sizes including some rather fabulous super yachts. Parties go from day to night under the Yas Viceroy hotel, you will most definitely spot a celebrity or two! Late night Yasalam celebrations will see several top International artists performing at venues on Yas Island over the race weekend.
What’s the hottest F1 post-race after party? Why the Amber Lounge of course! THE ultimate celebrity and driver after party that follows the F1 races around the world will be back in the grounds at Yas Links Golf Club. Invited guests and those with large wallets willing to splash their cash on jeroboams of champers in the most glamorous setting. Two-day packages are also available onboard the Amber Lounge Celebrity Yacht with all-inclusive hospitality and celebrities and F1 drivers popping by to join in the fun.
It’s the place to be and be seen as they say, invites are hard to come by, unless you know a F1 driver or you are prepared to throw money at it! On the plus side, you may bump into Hamilton and Vettel and you get to see Ella Eyre perform! If you have heaps of cash to splurge, click here for ticket packages and prices.
Yas Marina will be celebrating this year’s grand prix in style with all seven on-site outlets offering race weekend events as well as two special stylish pop-ups. From breakfast through to dinner, sundowners to after-hours partying there will be something for everyone this weekend in the marina – click here for a full rundown of what’s on offer.
1 OAK (aka 1 of a kind) nightclub will be in situ for race weekend from Friday until Sunday. Partygoers can dance until sunrise (it’s open until 5am) with world-renowned DJs including a live performance from Moroccan-American hip hop recording artist French Montana for the closing event on Sunday 26th. Tables start from a minimum spend of AED 10,000 – e-mail F1OAK@ButterGroup.com for more information.
House of Debonair in conjunction with TAG Heuer will also be taking up residence in Yas Marina. Expect three days of entertainment at the pop-up lounge located along the promenade overlooking the stunning marina. Cocktails will be flowing, DJ’s Danny Krivit, Kristian Valdini and Dan Chadwick will be providing the tunes and screens will show live action from the track. Open from 24th to 26th November daily from 1pm until 1am, no reservation needed as tables will be on a first come, first serve basis.
The UAE’s biggest indoor club, MAD located on Yas Island has a hot list of performers for race weekend. Australian rapper Iggy Azalea will kick things off on Friday night along with British rapper Tinie Tempah, R & B megastar Ne-Yo will be headlining on Saturday. Award-winning American rapper and singer-songwriter Wiz Khalifa will top things off on Sunday night – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
With its unique position over the Yas Marina Circuit, the iconic Yas Viceroy Hotel will be holding exclusive events over the whole race weekend. For the fifth year running The Rich List will be hosting both day and night activities, dining packages are available in Origins restaurant including The Royal Terrace access from 11am -7pm. Three top acts will perform in the Palm Garden from 10pm – 4am nightly, first up on Friday will be American rapper Busta Rhymes, F1 favourite British singer and DJ Craig David will be entertaining the crowds on Saturday. MC Rick Ross will be making his Abu Dhabi debut as he closes proceedings on Sunday night. Visit email@example.com
Rooftop bar Skylite will be serving up drinks and cocktails with 360 views of Yas Island and the Race Track. Open from 4pm until late on 24th – 26th November. Visit http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com for all the up to date Grand Prix weekend activities at the hotel. Empire, the only nightclub in the world over an F1 track, will host the likes of DJ Irwan, DJ Slim, DJ Bliss and DJ Master Stepz over the course of the weekend – telephone 050 501 5052 for the full line-up and reservations.
Dubai favourite, the bougainvillea draped boho spot El Chiringuito is bringing it’s Ibiza inspired vibes to Yas Beach for race weekend. Friday will see techno figurehead Sven Vath, Parisian exports Apollonia and German DJ Tini on the decks with the party in full swing until 4am. La Famillia brunch will be served on Saturday from 1pm- 5pm and chill out at El Chiringuito by the beach on Sunday from 11am -7pm. Email Reservations@elchiringuito-Dubai.com
Now we will just have to wait and see what the weekend brings! Will Britain’s best ever racing driver Hamilton delight all his expat fans and win yet another race in Abu Dhabi? Who will give the best performance at the after race concerts this year? Who will be spotted partying on a superyacht? All I know is another fun and crazy weekend is afoot and the capital will be full with a fun-loving F1 crowd!
Information and photos provided by Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina, Flash Entertainment, Du Arena, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi and The Amber Lounge. All views are my own © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of f1fanatic.co.uk and www.skysports.com