Your trackside guide to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 3-5, including information on concerts and how to get the most out of your time at Yas Marina Circuit.
Please Note: The 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will take place on December 11-13 without spectators present. Dates for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit have not yet been announced. This guide will be fully updated when the event schedule for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is available, normally around one more before 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, three huge theme parks (Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld & Warner Bros World), Du Arena for concerts, 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.
Access and Orientation at Yas Marina Circuit
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. You are not allowed to bring any food and drinks into the circuit. Read Getting There & Around for more information on getting to Yas Marina circuit.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Timetable
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 Formula 2 and Formula 4 UAE. The Pirelli Hot Laps supercars will also be taking VIPs, celebrities and paying guests on laps of the circuit across the weekend. The F1 Fanzone is also open on Thursday, when a public pit lane walk is held for 3-day ticket holders from 11:00-16:15. The timetable below is from 2019 and is for reference only.
- 10:00-20:00: Gates Open
- 10:30-11:00: Formula 4 UAE practice
- 11:30-12:15: Formula 2 practice
- 13:00-14:30: Formula 1 practice (FP1)
- 14:40-15:05: F1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 16:00-16:20: Formula 4 UAE qualifying
- 17:00-18:30: Formula 1 practice (FP2)
- 19:00-19:30: Formula 2 qualifying
- 10:00-20:00: Gates Open
- 12:30-13:10: Formula 4 UAE first race (25 mins)
- 14:00-15:00: Formula 1 Practice 3
- 15:10-15:40: Formula 2 driver’s parade
- 15:50-16:20: F1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 17:00-18:00: Formula 1 Qualifying
- 18:45-19:50: Formula 2 first race (31 laps or 60 mins)
- 11:30-20:00: Gates Open
- 12:00-12:30: Formula 4 UAE second race (25 mins)
- 13:30-14:20: Formula 2 second race (22 laps or 45 mins)
- 14:40-15:00: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 15:10-15:15: DHL Fastest Lap & Fastest Pit Stop of the Year Awards
- 15:15-15:20: End of year driver’s photograph
- 15:30-16:00: F1 Driver’s Track Parade
- 15:35-16:05: Starting grid presentation
- 17:10-19:10: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (55 laps or 2 hours)
Yasalam Post-Race Concerts at Du Arena
The Yasalam After-Race concerts are FREE with a valid Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ticket for the day when the concert happens, but you do need to collect a wristband to enter. These can be collected from the Oasis areas around the circuit on the day.
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 quite early (see below), but the main headline acts generally don’t come on until around 21:00 and finish by around 23:00.
Yas Island Theme Parks
Yas Island is home to three world-class theme parks. The best known among F1 fans is Ferrari World, located under a huge red roof with the famous prancing horse logo next to the track. “GP Parks Pass” tickets (sold out for 2019) grant you access to both the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and all three parks. Alternatively, you can save on the high individual entry prices for each theme park by purchase 2-day, 2-park (or 3-day, 3-park) tickets.
- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: 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. Open from 11:00-20:00 every day. Adult tickets from 295 AED.
- Yas Waterworld: 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. Adult tickets from 250 AED.
- Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi: The newest addition to Yas Marina is devoted to the characters of the famous Hollywood studio, including Looney Tunes, DC Comics & Hanna-Barbera. It contains 29 rides plus daily shows, restaurants, shops and other attractions. Open every day from 10:00-20:00. Adult tickets from 295 AED
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 Circuit Facilities
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).