Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1 Abu Dhabi, Gran Prix, by Packing my Suitcase.

When planning my honeymoon to the Maldives, I discovered that the best way of getting there from Germany was flying via the United Arab Emirates. That being said, crazy about Formula 1 as I am, I arranged the entire trip according to the date of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – November 2013. Yup, I said it! And so far, it is the best one I have ever been to.

The stunning Yas Marina Circuit is part of the Formula 1 calendar since 2009, after 2 years under construction. As any other infrastructure site in the UAE, the circuit is huge, technological-advanced and innovative, providing a spectacle for both drivers and spectators, on and off the tracks. Sponsored by the local airline Etihad Airways, the Grand Prix is located a little bit outside Abu Dhabi and has its own special accommodation, nothing less than the Viceroy Hotel – or Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi as it is officially called – right in the middle of the circuit.

Formula 1 Abu Dhabi, Gran Prix, by Packing my Suitcase.

When I arrived at the circuit for the Saturday qualifying I wasn’t only perplexed with the magnificence of the place, but was also surprised with my sitting place, which was only supposed to be a normal numbered chair. More than that, W and I had access to a VIP area – the lounge – where during the breaks we could cool down with the air conditioning, buy snacks in the bistro, and eat sitting in lounge sofas in front of TV’s informing us when the next section would start. What could I ask more?

My sitting place was at the West Grand Stand, from where I could see the start – well, mostly hear it – from afar, facing the gorgeous Viceroy Hotel and right in front of 2 big screens and at the most popular turn for crashes and drivers’ mistakes. I have nothing to complain about the place I chose, and if I have the chance to go to this Grand Prix again, I would choose the same spot again!

Apart from seeing Ferraris everywhere parked around the circuit, the entire weekend was a big celebration, from the beginning – with an air show made by Etihad Airways and its A380 – to the end – a show with fireworks. In addition, each end of the day, there was a concert with some famous bands, which my ticket allowed me to go for free. I must say: splendid, something to be on every Formula 1 fan’s bucketlist!

Practical information

Where to stay

There are a few hotels nearby the circuit, from where you can walk or take a shuttle, though the options are limited and expensive on the race’s weekend; book in advance.

Staying in Abu Dhabi is a good option – I chose this one – though you need to know that the circuit is not so close to the city.

Staying in Dubai is another option if you don’t mind driving 2 hours to go and 2 more hours to return on the same day; it is a great choice if you are going only for the Sunday race for example.

Getting there

Mostly by Taxi or car (it is very easy to rent a car in the UAE, and it’s also for a good price)


There is a lot of traffic when arriving at the circuit, I mean A LOT, so you don’t want to be stuck there for 1 or 2 hours trying to park as close as you can to the main gate or waiting in the taxi, just walk the remaining meters.

In case you decide to rent a car and don’t have those especial tickets that allow you to park inside the circuit, then I advise you to park by the Ferrari World, just nearby. You can leave the car there parked for free, then either walk or take a shuttle from the parking lot to the main gate of the circuit, where you can catch the circuit’s official shuttle that will take you to your gate.

Formula 1 Abu Dhabi, Gran Prix, by Packing my Suitcase.



I got the tickets for Saturday and Sunday, and when I received the program I saw that on Thursday and Friday there was the possibility to get autographs from the drivers. Each driver had a fixed time and day to be there and sign for the fans. Unfortunately I didn’t know this before planning my trip, so I only arrived in Abu Dhabi on Saturday for the qualifying. So, add a few days before the race if you are dreaming of getting an autograph from your favorite driver.

Ferrari World

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, by Packing my Suitcase.

A must visit for the Formula 1 and Ferrari fans. I didn’t find it so especial, there is a theme park there, with one of the fastest roller coasters in the world, and of course a huge official merchandizing store of the scuderia. To access the park you need to pay an entrance fee – which is not cheap – but the entrance to the store is free.

Formula 1 Abu Dhabi, Gran Prix, by Packing my Suitcase.Official name: Yas Marina Circuit

First Grand Prix: 2009

Circuit Lenght: 5.554 km

Race Distance: 305.355 Km

Number of laps: 55

Highlight: sunset race!

More information: Official Website

Tickets Sale:

Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, Map. By Packing my Suitcase

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Love the first pic…you had great seats!

    • Yes, I was reaaally happy with our choice!! Can’t complain about it, it was amazing 😀

  • Aaah! Another F1 post! All these F1 posts are really reminding me to buy the Melbourne F1 tickets for next March 😀 Maybe you should come to this one…

    Now that you mention it, yes, quite a number of the race circuits are far from the cities. I suppose it’s to push the noise (vroom, vroom) as far away as possible. You had VIP tickets and could watch the race from high above, so lucky! Maybe there were also famous other VIPs beside you 😀

    It’s funny how these days the music and concerts before, during and after the Grand Prix is as popular as the race itself. Well, I suppose it just adds to more happy faces to the event. I guess that gives people more reason to attend the event!

    • Yessss you have to go Mabel, if not next year, then one time, because you need to tell me how it was 😀 I really hope to make it there someday and visit your city, I would love to do that and meet you!

      Yes, most of the races are far from the circuit, because of the noise and also because of outside the cities there are more space… but in Sao Paulo and in Monza for example, they are inside the city!!

      Our places were really cool… but I didnt see anyone famous, or at least not that I recognized hahaha ooops!

      And yes, the concerts are very popular… though I didnt go to any of them, at the of the day after being at the circuit for so many hours, I am so tired that I just want to take a shower and sleep hahaha 😀

      I hope you can go to the race in Melbourne and think of me 😀

  • Whoa, F1 fan! Who’s your fave – Vettel, or Alonso… or maybe The Hulk? 🙂

    • hahaha yes I am! At the moment, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa (the only Brazilian there this season) 😀 do you like F1 too?

      • God no (sorry, I am very anti-car!), but my best friend is 1) obsessed 2) races auto-cross in the States (her blog is on my blog roll, All The Roads… etc), so I had to pipe down and learn it all! 🙂

        • hahahahaha ohh no, sorry about that!!
          Well, I love cars.. not so common among women I know hahaha 😀

          • the first time she put together an engine it took under 4 hours I think! (I dont like cars… I am HER #1 fan…)

          • Wow!!! Thats pretty cool…. I like cars, but not in a technical way… I just like the designs and to ride them 😀 the technical stuff I leave to my husband hahahah

  • Ooooh looks awesome! I’ve never been to a F1 race. Need to add to my bucketlist 🙂

    • haha yes you do!! Its amazing… and watching it in person is completely different than watching it on TV 😀

      • I bet! Too bad there aren’t too many tracks in North America..maybe I’ll make it up to Montreal for the race there someday…

        • True!! Here in Europe there are lots of them.
          I always wanted to go the Montreal Grand Prix, I love that city, and I believe the grand prix there must be one of the best!! I hope you go and let me know what you thought 😀

          • If I make it there, I’ll definitely let you know what it’s like. I <3 Montreal, too. It's one of my favorite cities on Earth!

          • Yesss, mine too!! Its an amazing city, I had a wonderful time there!! 😀

  • Whoa !!!

  • I don’t like the layout of this circuit, but I would like to experience a Grand Prix in Twilight. Only the Singapore GP has a better atmosphere under the street lights! I am jealous that you get to go to all these races… 🙁

    • So far this circuit was my favorite… but I really hope to go to others, especially the Singapore one and compare 😀 but watching from the TV is different than watching from there… so Im afraid that watching the race at the Singapore circuit wont be so nice as we see on tv… but I want to go anyways 😀
      Have you ever been to a F1 race before? I hope you can go, its one of the things I most love doing in this life 😀

      • Singapore Grand Prix 2015. Definite! 😀 I only want to go to Asian ones, so its Malaysia in March or Singapore in September…would be cool if I could stay over there for those 6 months! 😀

        • hahahaha awesome!!! I hope you go to both and tell me how it is!!! Im planning to go to the Malaysian Grand Prix, but only in 2016, next year wont work!! Hope you go 😀

  • The location is next to water, and nicely designed building – it’s perfect! I am still amazed how you enjoy the racing 😉

    • Yes!! They thought about everything… except about how much traffic there is on a race day to get to the circuit hahah… but I forgive them, because watching a race there is amazing! hahaha yes, not many people guess I love F1… not so common for a woman I guess 😀

      • Hahaha…:D you are the first female blogger I have ever known who loves car racing! That’s cool I think 😉 I have a friend who loves driving very fast – she drives like a racer (ok, maybe I am bit exaggerating in describing her fast :D), but her fast driving made me scared to death already..

        • hahahaha oh my!! Even though I love race cars, I dont drive like crazy 😀 maybe your friend would love to go to a F1 race someday ahahha 😀

  • I live in Abu Dhabi, and as a huge fan of thrills, ride that ridiculously fast rollercoaster every season. Did you try it?
    Also, did you like the Maldives? It’s one of my favourite countries in the world!

    • Really? How awesome that you live in Abu Dhabi 😀
      noooo I didnt ride the rollerc oaster, you have no idea how afraid I am of heights hahahaha so I didnt even enter the park, though my husband wanted to haha

      The Maldives are heaven…. I have never seen something like that place before!! I am crazy to go back there, though need to save some money 😀 lucky you to live so close to that paradise 😀

  • My husband loves Formula 1 and watches every race on TV. Your experience had to be very memorable.

    • Really? Thats nice!! Thank God my hubby also likes it, so he enjoys going to the races with me hahaha 😀

  • Abu Dhabi looks sensational, it’s definitely on my bucket list, especially after reading this post. Great photos by the way. Wish I was going this weekend!

    • Yessss, I loved it and would be veeery happy to go again, especially this weekend hahahaha… this next race will be amazing, I wish I was there!!
      And you should go there someday, I dont know if many races are awesome as that one!! 😀

      • Your photos make me want to go so bad! And what you say about the free music concerts etc reminds me of Singapore – a brilliant modern Grand Prix experience

        • Yess, they make a whole party at night there… I found it pretty cool!!
          Oh really? I am crazy to go to the Singapore GP, but it will have to wait for a while, because Im already going there in May, so no chance to go again for the GP.
          I hope you go to Abu Dhabi soon 🙂

  • So cool! Your seats seemed awesome! I watched the F1 night race in Singapore a few years ago and that was very special. Also watched in India a couple of years back (very chaotic).
    My hubby is a big fan of Formula 1 and I too think that they were fun and fantastic experiences. Hope we get to check out the race in Abu Dhabi next time 😉
    Btw, we have planned trips around football matches before too :p Worth it!! Anyways, glad you had fun! You must aim for Singapore next 😀 Great work on the blog, Allane. Love it! 🙂

    • Hi Nita!!! Thank you so much for the lovely comment 😀
      Ohhhhh watching the F1 Grand Prix in Singapore is on my bucketlist! Next year I will visit it, but not during the race time, unfortunately, but I have to go for the race there 😀 lucky you!!
      I hope you aim for Abu Dhabi next, its amazing…. it is spectacular 😀
      My hubby would love to plan a trip around football, he has done it before with friends, but we still haven’t done it together.

      I am so honored that you liked my blog, because I really liked yours too, and it was a pleasure meeting you through this blog world 😀 we will certainly keep in touch!!

  • Hi Manos, I bought my tickets on:
    I was one of the first ones to buy when it opened for sale. Good luck 😀 it is no doubt one of the best places to sit, and the circuit is simply amazing!