2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Trip Report

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Andreas travelled with his family from Germany to Dubai for a 2-week holiday, including a side trip to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Here’s his report.

I went to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2014, but I was keen to return. My family situation is a little different now as a parent, so we decided to make a family holiday combined with F1. My wife and I decided to plan a 2-week holiday in Dubai that coincided with the race at Yas Marina. We live between two big German hubs, so it was easy to find direct flights with Emirates from Munich to Dubai for about €400 return each. The flight was less than 6 hours, which is just about doable with a 1 year old!

We stayed in the Rixos the Palm Hotel, which has excellent food, friendly and helpful staff, and great views of Dubai’s impressive skyline. I bought my South Grandstand ticket directly from the circuits, as I had good memories of their service in 2014. I also bought an S2 Silver parking pass for the lot near the South Grandstand. The ticket cost about €300 and the parking pass was €80. My tickets package arrived about five weeks before the race. (My tip: Buy your race tickets early. The organizers offer a 30% discount for the first few months after tickets go on sale, which is a really good saving.)

How did you get from Dubai to Yas Marina?

I organized a hire car via my hotel, because I couldn’t find a rental company that delivered your car to the hotel. The rental price from the hotel was competitive, about €30 per day. Dubai is about 120km away from Yas Marina Circuit, which was an easy 1-hour drive on the motorway. I was a bit worried about getting caught for speeding, as there were camera flashes every 5km, but I learned this was for collecting the toll. The toll fee was about €2 each way. Finding my parking lot at the circuit was also pretty easy – there was signs everywhere with directions.

My Experience at Yas Marina

On the way from the carpark to the South Grandstand, I walked past the pits for the support races. These are located underneath the Marina Grandstand and ticketholders have free access. After sitting in the West Grandstand last time, I decided to go for a different view this time and get a seat in the South Grandstand. This grandstand is located at the end of the second DRS straight, and there were lots of close battles and overtakes, making it a good choice.

You can get food and drink at Yas Marina in large “Oasis” areas. There was a food festival this year with cuisines available from all over the world. I didn’t try though, as I was still full from the food at my hotel! The zone behind the Main Grandstand also had lots of merchandise stalls, local companies presenting their products and a Sotheby’s tent with some of the cars being auctioned over the weekend, including a Benetton driven by Michael Schumacher. They also put on huge concerts every day with free access for F1 ticketholder – the concert venue is located behind the North Grandstand, near Ferrari World – but I didn’t attend as I’m not a big music fan.

If you want to see some VIP’s, F1 personal or even drivers i recommend going over the bridge to the W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island Hotel (formerly known as the Yas Viceroy Hotel). If you are early enough, normally around 3 hours before a session, you can easily see them on their way out of the hotel, heading towards the F1 Paddock.

I was in the South Grandstand, so I decided to leave around 3 laps before the end of the race. I ran to the shuttle bus, which stops at all the grandstands. Luckily, one had just arrived, and it took me quickly to the West Grandstand. From there, I went through the tunnel to the Main Grandstand. Luckily there was no security check. I arrived just in time to see the Top 3 drivers doing their donuts. I also had a great view for the podium ceremony, which ended an awesome season for me (I also went to Baku, Spielberg, Hockenheim, Budapest and Monza).

The 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is scheduled for November 26-29. Read our Travel Guide.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. 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.

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