“This year, as we prepare for our milestone 10th grand prix, we look forward to our biggest and best race weekend ever and hope you will join us to help celebrate.” Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit
The final countdown is on for the biggest sporting event in the capital, the Formula 1 2018 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is happening this coming weekend at Yas Marina Circuit. Abu Dhabi is poised and ready to deliver yet another show-stopping four-day F1 season finale from 22nd – 25th November.
On the track all the 2018 titles have already been decided, British driver Lewis Hamilton clinched his fifth championship title at the Mexican Grand Prix last month followed by the constructors title for Mercedes after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix. The season’s honours may have already been decided but that will not deter Hamilton and his fellow driver’s determination to win Abu Dhabi’s season finale race and stand on the top step of the Yas Marina Circuit Podium.
Here’s anexpatabroad’s guide to the exciting 2018 F1 weekend ahead ……
On the Track
It’s the 10th Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this coming weekend and it’s hard to fathom that not only has it already reached that ten-year milestone but that we have lived here since the start.
Proceedings will start as usual on Thursday 22nd November with the Pit Lane Walk from noon until 4:15 pm. Available to three-day F1 ticket holders only, it’s a chance to get a sneak peek inside the garages, as the teams prepare for the final weekend and if you are lucky spot one of the drivers.
Friday sees the first day of F1 practice sessions on Yas Marina circuit at 1pm and 5pm. Final practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2pm and 5pm, the last being the all-important session that decides who will start the final race of the 2018 season in pole position. Support race practice sessions and GP2/GP3 final practice sessions will also be taking place as well as final qualifying sessions – 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 can still purchase hospitality packages but grandstands and Abu Dhabi Hill tickets are sold out according to the website – click HERE for all the latest ticket information.
Off the Track
A full schedule of live entertainment from local and regional artists will be performed at the F1 village adjacent to the Yas Marina Circuit from Thursday through to Saturday – click HERE for details. There will also be plenty of food, beverage and retail outlets as well as themed activities for all the family.
This year you can supercharge your F1 experience off the track with a Super Parks Pass. Enjoy five days of unlimited access to all three Yas Island Parks – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi when you purchase a three-day Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ticket.
Pimp up your F1 weekend and travel like a rock star with the Super Taxis initiative. Concert-goers have the opportunity to travel to Yas Island in a supercar such as a Lamborghini, Maserati, Corvette, Bentley, Rolls Royce or Mercedes. Super Taxis are available from 2pm – 10pm on 22nd – 25th November – book your ride via the Careem App and get lucky with a surprise taxi.
This year’s Yasalam (meaning wow) after-race concert lineup presented by Flash Entertainment brings together a diverse group of artists from different musical genres. Gracing the stage at Du Arena in 2018 will be American rapper Post Malone, Canadian R & B favourite The Weeknd, British crooner Sam Smith and rock legends Guns N’ Roses.
Heavily tattooed rapper Malone, best known for hit singles such as Rockstar, Psycho and Congratulations, will be the first performer kicking things off on Thursday night with a bang. Friday night belongs to Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye aka The Weeknd who will thrill the crowd with his multi-award winning back catalogue with tracks such as Starboy and Call Out My Name.
Personally I’m really looking forward to Saturday and seeing the second Grammy Award winning artist of the weekend, Sam Smith make his regional debut. Trust me when I say we will all be participating in a mass crowd sing along to his, some might say anguished, popular ballads. Stay With Me, The Thrill of It All and the well-known Bond theme tune Writing’s On The Wall will be well received by this Smith fan.
No strangers to Du Arena, Sunday headliners Guns N’ Roses are following in the footsteps of some great finale acts such as Aerosmith, the late Prince and Sir Paul McCartney. With Axl Rose and The Slash back in the band expect an entertaining and ear bashing rock and roll performance, get your air guitar ready to rock out to classics such as Sweet Child o’ Mine and Paradise City.
A-List after-parties are a mainstay of any F1 weekend and Abu Dhabi is no exception, the capital will come alive this weekend with non-stop action on and off the track. The marina is the best place to enjoy the party whether on-board one of the superyachts or one of the surrounding bars and restaurants. Parties go from day to-night under the recently re-named Yas Hotel (formerly The Yas Viceroy) and you will probably spot a celebrity or two!
One of the biggest after-race parties, The Podium Lounge is back in the capital for the 2018 race weekend after a hiatus last year. This year the Podium Lounge has teamed up with The Rich List to host three nights of entertainment at RUSH in the Yas Hotel with a lineup of performers each night and a fashion show curated by M the Movement.
What’s the hottest F1 post-race after party? The Amber Lounge of course! THE ultimate celebrity and driver after party that follows the F1 races around the world will once again take up residence in the grounds at Yas Links Golf Club on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Craig David will be returning to the Amber Lounge stage again this year along with DJ Sigala. Be prepared to splash some cash if you are not on the coveted guest list, expect star-studded entertainment, Jeroboams of champagne, celebrities and F1 drivers 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.
If you are looking for something different this year try the official Yas Yacht Party, a unique experience aboard Serenity, the trackside yacht moored at Yas Marina on Grand Prix weekend. It’s the biggest party of the year with food, drinks and live entertainment available on Saturday and Sunday night.
One of three new venues to open at Yas Marina, Casa de Cuba, the Cuban cocktail bar will host Candypants for a series of upbeat party nights from 22nd – 25th November. There’s minimum spends and table bookings so don’t expect to just waltz straight in without dropping some serious cash or having a prior reservation. Also opening are popular Dubai hangouts The Scene By Simon Rimmer and Mr Miyagi’s, expect quintessential British fare at the Scene from famous UK celebrity chef Simon Rimmer and delicious Thai cuisine and flamboyant cabaret shows at Mr Miyagi’s – click HERE for all the race week happenings at Yas Marina.
Artists Nelly, French Montana and Future, as well as surprise guest on Saturday night, will be all be headlining at the UAE’s biggest indoor nightclub, MAD over the weekend. If you are looking to party until the wee small hours this is the place. Empire Yas located in the Bridge Gallery at the Yas Hotel will be turning up the energy during Race Weekend with its after-parties from 23rd – 25th November. DJ Mademoiselle Sabah from Nikki Beach will be entertaining the crowds along with dancers, a saxophonist and drummers until 5 am.
Now we will just have to wait and see what the 10th anniversary weekend brings! Will Hamilton delight all his expat fans again this year and win yet another Abu Dhabi race? Who will give the best concert performance? Who will be papped partying on a superyacht? All I know is it’s that time of year where the capital will be alive and happening with the fun-loving F1 crowd!
Information and photos provided by respective venues. All views are my own © Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Visit adgp.visitabudhabi.ae for all the information. Additional photos used with courtsey of www.abudhabi-grand-prix.com/2883-abu-dhabi-f1/