Trackside at Yas Marina – 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Your trackside guide to Yas Marina for the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, including information and advice on concerts, going to Ferrari world and more. The next race is on November 23-25, 2018.

This guide will be fully updated for 2018 around 2-4 weeks before the race weekend.

Yas Island Marina is a veritable playground for the F1 fanatic, adrenaline junkie and gastronome. In addition to the F1 circuit, the island complex also boasts a world-class marina rivaling Monaco for glamor, two huge theme parks (Ferrari World and Waterworld), concert area, shopping, restaurants and more! Most of the on-track action takes place in the afternoon, leaving you with the morning to check out the rest of the island’s attractions. 

2017 Abu Dhabi GP on-track schedule

As well as almost seven hours of F1 action on the track at Yas Marina, you will also get to see two races apiece (plus practice and qualifying) from F1’s two main feeder series, GP2 and GP3. There’s also a pitlane walk for holders of 3-day tickets on Thursday afternoon, which is normally held from 12:00-16:00.

Friday, November 24

  • 10:15-11:00: GP3 practice
  • 11:30-12:15: Formula 2 practice
  • 13:00-14:30: Formula 1 practice (FP1)
  • 15:10-15:40: GP3 qualifying
  • 17:00-18:30: Formula 1 practice (FP2)
  • 19:00-19:30: Formula 2 qualifying

Saturday, November 25

  • 11:15-11:45: F1 pitstop practice (pitlane)
  • 12:25-13:10: GP3 race one (18 laps or 40 mins)
  • 14:00-15:00: Formula 1 Practice 3
  • 15:10-15:40: Formula 2 driver’s parade
  • 17:00-18:00: Formula 1 Qualifying
  • 18:40-19:45: Formula 2 race one (31 laps or 60 mins)

Sunday, November 26

  • 12:15-13:00: Fan Forum
  • 12:50-13:25: GP3 race two (14 laps or 30 mins)
  • 14:10-15:00: Formula 2 race two (22 laps)
  • 15:20: Presentation for fastest lap and pitstop of the year
  • 15:25: End of year F1 driver’s photograph
  • 15:30-15:40: F1 Driver’s Track Parade
  • 15:45-16:15: Starting grid presentation
  • 16:47: Etihad fly past & Aerobatic display (TBC)
  • 17:00-19:00: 2017 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix (55 laps or 120 mins)

Access and Orientation

A total of seven access gates provide access to the circuit on the main access road which runs around the North and West of the circuit (download a map below). Free shuttle buses run regularly between the entrances and provide easy access to all of the main grandstands, marina, hotels, Du Arena (where the concerts are held) and Ferrari World. The exception is the Main Grandstand, which is accessed by entering through Gate 14 and walking through the tunnel at Gate 16 to the inside of the circuit. It’s not possible to bring any food and drinks into the circuit and smoking is banned in all grandstands. Read Getting There & Around for more information on getting to Yas Marina circuit.

Yas Marina map: click to open a large version.
Yas Marina Circuit: need to know

  • It can be very hot before the sun goes down at Yas Marina, so wear light clothing (but retain modesty, you are in a Muslim country) and wear a hat and sunscreen. Taking a change of clothes for the concert is also a good idea.
  • ATMs are located in each grandstand; you can pay for merchandise and other larger purchases with a credit card.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all Grandstands and inside the circuit buildings.
  • Stay up to date with what’s happening during the weekend by downloading the free YasHub app for IOS / Android. Follow Yas Marina circuit on Facebook and Twitter to find out about competitions, special promotions and changes to the schedule.


The Yasalam After-Race concerts are FREE with a valid Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ticket for the day when the concert happens. The concerts take place in Du Arena (behind the North grandstand, near Ferrari world). This is an impressive concert venue with excellent facilities, including food trucks and bars serving alcohol (though the prices are expensive). Gates to the concerts open at 19:00, but the main headline acts generally don’t come on until closer to 21:00 and finish by around 23:00.

2017 Abu Dhabi GP concerts

  • Thursday Nov 23: Calvin Harris
  • Friday Nov 24: J. Cole (replacing Kendrick Lamar)
  • Saturday Nov 25: Mumford & Sons
  • Sunday Nov 26: Pink


Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Free access to Ferrari World in 2017 only if you have purchased a “GP Parks Pass” ticket. Based on our recent experience, Ferrari World is worth checking out to ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster (Formula Rossa, which hits speeds of up to 240 km/hr and is amazing!) but pretty underwhelming otherwise, making it hard to justify the high ticket prices. There are some legendary Ferraris on display, but you can see equally awesome supercars everywhere in the UAE, and the rides, games, galleries and experiences will not keep you busy much beyond an hour or two. Your kids will probably disagree with our assessment.

  • General admission – or Bronze – access to Ferrari World costs 275 AED ($75 USD) for adults and 230 AED for children under 1.3 meters in height. There are ticket upgrades (Silver, Gold) which cost more and allow you to jump queues. This could be worthwhile on the days either side of the race weekend when lots of fans attend, but wasn’t necessary on Friday between FP1 and FP2 (when we went last year).
  • Opening hours are from 11:00 – 20:00, every day.
  • Click here for more information and to buy tickets online.

Yas Waterworld

Free access to Ferrari World in 2017 only if you have purchased a “GP Parks Pass” ticket. Boasting 43 rides, slides and attractions, Yas Marina is a huge water park spread over 15 hectares on Yas Island. General Admission costs 240 AEd ($65) for those over 1.1m tall. Junior Admission for those under 1.1m tall is around 20% cheaper. Yas Waterworld is open from 10:00-19:00. Find out more and book your tickets by clicking here.

Yas Marina

No visit to the Yas Marina circuit would be complete without a visit to the Marina itself. Monaco meets the Middle East as the rich and famous gather on superyachts and in exclusive bars and restaurants to watch the action. Incredibly, entrance is free on Grand Prix weekend (even if you don’t have an F1 ticket), though you can’t go too far without the right credentials. There’s even a small section of track where you can watch the action on the outside of turn 19 (between numbers 17 and 20 on this Yas Marina map).

Want to get your own sunset photos that the circuit is famous for? Head to the area outside the track (near the apex of turn 19) before the entrance to the Marina, and join the official photographers. There are some trees and a fence, but you can get uninterrupted shots like we did below last year. No F1 ticket required! Don’t forget that sunset is at around 17:30 local time (during FP2 on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday).


Yas Marina is a modern circuit and the facilities are world class. There are several food and drink areas dotted around the circuit and close to the main spectator areas: North Oasis (close to the North Grandstand), West Oasis (next to the West Grandstand), South Oasis (between the Marina and South Grandstands) and the F1 Village (behind the Main Grandstand). Food and drink are reasonably priced (alcohol is available, but expensive) but the food selection is mostly limited to fast-food type options. If you want a better selection of food you can head to the shopping center next to Ferrari World (affordable eats) or join the rich and famous at the eateries in the Marina (not so affordable eats).

Want to visit the circuit on another weekend? Yas Marina circuit runs regular daily tours throughout the year, taking in the grandstands, race control, media center and paddock area. Priced from 60 AED ($16 USD). Click here to book.  You can also hit the track as a passenger or driver in a supercar or open seat racer, awesome! Details here.

Have you been to Yas Marina circuit? Leave a comment below and tells us about your experience.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (4)

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  1. Hi, I am Michelle Dela Cerna currently based in Dubai, I am your avid reader of your blog since then and somehow you give me an interesting idea about Abu Dhabi.

    I would like to commend you for a very good job in every blog that you’ve made. Thank you for inspiring us!

    Hope you will make more blog! ♥

  2. desertsafari says:

    UAE is very beautiful and safe place to visit.. for more imformation visit the page

  3. Isra says:

    Hi, if possible I would love to know where are the best spots to get closer to the drivers and teams (ex. Entrance and exit of the drivers and teams) in the circuit. And thanks in advance

    • Editor says:

      Hi Isra, I’m not sure for Yas Marina. I think it could be difficult at the track, as the driver’s enter the pits and paddock area directly via a tunnel.

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