The glitzy Yas Island hosts the curtain closer on the Formula 1 season with a unique twilight race.
No expense was spared on the ambitious Yas Marina Circuit on the man-made Yas Island near Dubai. The multi-billion dollar development is part of an entertainment centre which also features a water park, concert venues and the Ferrari World theme park.
The 21-turn Yas Marina Circuit was crafted by Hermann Tilke, and features a unique pit-exit which runs through a tunnel under the track, plus a section of the circuit which passes underneath the extravagant Yas Hotel. The circuit is often criticised for a lack of overtaking opportunities, though Tilke is open to the idea of addressing this issue by tweaking the track in the future.
Abu Dhabi hosted the first twilight F1 race when it joined the calendar in 2009. Always held toward the end of the season, the event now holds the final race of the year. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has provided three title showdowns in 2010, 2014 and 2016. Though overtaking is limited at the circuit, Abu Dhabi has provided some interesting races – with Kimi Raikkonen’s 2012 win being a particular highlight.
The Yas Marina Circuit has a busy calendar throughout the year, and is a popular location for post-season F1 and F2 tests. Despite being one of the most expensive races to attend on the current calendar, the event is usually a sell-out. The length of the race’s contract has never been disclosed, though the event is expected to remain on the circuit for many years to come.
Learn more: Yas Marina Circuit in Numbers
Upcoming events at Yas Marina Circuit
Formula 1 is the main drawcard at Yas Marina, though the circuit does host local motorsport events throughout the year.
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is on December 10-12.
How to get there
The Yas Marina Circuit is located on Yas Island, around 35km east of Abu Dhabi City and 115km south west of Dubai.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is closest to the Yas Marina Circuit, just 10km from the track. While this is the logical place to fly in to, Dubai International Airport (DXB) may also be worth considering, being only 95km from the circuit and having a much larger selection of flights.
How to get to Yas Marina:
- Taxi: Taxis are a popular way of getting from the city to the circuit and back over the Grand Prix weekend. The best place to catch a taxi for your return journey is near the entrance to Ferrari World and Yas Mall, with a fare to and from Abu Dhabi’s city centre costing around 70 Dirhams (€15 EUR) each way. There is a shuttle bus service which will take you from the circuit to the nearby car parks.
- Park and Ride / Car: There is a free park and ride shuttle service for those coming from Abu Dhabi for the race. You’ll need to show your race ticket to be admitted. Some tickets include trackside parking, or you can park at Yas Mall, behind Ferrari World. Don’t forget that the blood alcohol limit for driving in the UAE is zero. Browse car rentals in Abu Dhabi with Rentalcars.com
- Bus: The Yas Express bus service runs on the Yas Island too, covering the 2.5km distance from one end of the track to the other. This can be particularly helpful if you’re attending any of the concerts over Grand Prix weekend.
Where to stay
Accommodation is expensive across the board in Abu Dhabi, so be prepared for highly-priced hotels. The cities of Abu Dhabi – 35km from the circuit – or Dubai – a little further afield at 115km from the track – are the best places to stay for your trip to the Yas Marina Circuit.
There are no hostels in the area around the Yas Marina Circuit, and while there are a few Airbnb choices, the offering is not extensive. You’re unlikely to get a room in the iconic Yas Hotel (formerly Viceroy) on the Yas Island for Grand Prix weekend, with all rooms regularly selling out over a year in advance of the event. There are number of more affordable hotels within walking distance of the circuit, including the well-rated Centro Yas Island-by Rotana and the Park Inn Radisson Yas Island.
There’s a much wider range of choices in Abu Dhabi itself, with prices on Grand Prix weekend ranging from €200 per night for 4-star hotels up to in excess of €1000 per night for the very best. The Grand Mercure Residence offers accommodation from a trusted global brand. Many of the best-rated hotels are located centrally, most just a short walk from the famous Corniche promenade.
Dubai is another choice for your visit, where accommodation is generally cheaper than in Abu Dhabi. You’ll have further to travel to the circuit, however. There’s arguably more to see and do in Dubai, so it’s particularly recommended if you’re taking an extended break in the area.
More information about where to stay for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix can be found on F1Destinations: Accommodation – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Guided Tours of Yas Marina Circuit take you behind the scenes at one of the most start-of-the-art circuits in the world
- About: Driving around in an air-conditioned bus, you’ll stop at Race Control, the F1 and Support Pit Garages and Paddock, 500-seat Media Centre, podium, North Grandstand, Yas Marina, Shams Tower and the Yas Drag Racing strip
- When: All year round. Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00
- Cost: From approximately 30 EUR
- Register: Buy tickets here or contact the circuit: email@example.com / +971 2659 9800
A huge range of driving and passenger experiences are offered year-round at Yas Marina Circuit
- Get behind the wheel of everything from sportscars to open wheelers or get driven around the circuit by a professional drivers in a Mercedes AMG-GTS. Driving experience prices start from 495 AED. More info here.
- There’s also a go-kart track for kids, juniors and adults. Prices for adults start from 120 AED. More info and bookings.
- The circuit is also opened throughout the year for track days where you can drive your own car. More info here.
- Private driving tuition is also available.