May 18, 2024

ABU DHABI: Saif Al-Noaimi smiled as he surveyed arguably essentially the most well-known spot within the trendy historical past of motorsports.

The CEO of Ethara — organizers of the Etihad Airways Formulation 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — was standing on Yas Marina Circuit’s Flip 5, the precise spot the place Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on Dec. 12, 2021, to win his first Formulation 1 World Championship in dramatic circumstances.

Al-Noaimi understands greater than most the importance of that iconic piece of actual property on the North Grandstand hairpin. It had been one of many segments that had been altered earlier that 12 months to permit for extra overtaking alternatives and thrilling racing.

It delivered on these guarantees.

He stated: “That is the flip that was modified fully in 2021. We noticed Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen arriving on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with precisely the identical variety of factors and this was the nook during which Max Verstappen overtook Lewis to say the championship on the final lap at Yas Marina Circuit.”

Verstappen might have wrapped up this 12 months’s title weeks in the past, however the reputation of the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — that concludes on Nov. 26 — stays as excessive as ever.

“The gross sales have been unprecedented. We didn’t anticipate this stage of demand for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so we launched our tickets sooner than we’ve ever launched in earlier years. And we bought out inside weeks of sure merchandise, together with grandstands,” Al-Noaimi added as he drove across the course.

The tickets additionally present entry into the post-race live shows which this 12 months embrace Ava Max, Tiesto, Chris Brown, Shania Twain, and Foo Fighters.

“There’s been extraordinarily excessive curiosity in demand in all classes, grandstands, basic admission, but additionally high-end hospitality and VIP choices.

“After we noticed that we bought out many of those merchandise, we labored so as to add stock and to construct new merchandise over the summer season interval,” Al-Noaimi stated.

The previous favorites stay. The Marina Grandstand, the W Abu Dhabi, and the Paddock Membership — reverse the Foremost Grandstand — the place a brand new podium will protrude onto the monitor, permitting followers a more in-depth take a look at the drivers on the finish of the race.

Stopping at Flip 2, Al-Noaimi pointed to the monitor’s newest additions, which can present new hospitality shops with vantage factors which have by no means been skilled earlier than.

He added: “Now we have the Deck at Two and Horizon 360, fully new views, we’ve by no means used that a part of the monitor. Nobody has ever acquired that perspective of the race. Think about the beginning of the race, all 20 automobiles are coming round for the primary time, all shut to one another, everybody making an attempt to get the optimum line by Flip 2, setting themselves up for Flip 5 on the hairpin.

“We launched the West Straight Grandstand. We added some hospitality merchandise as properly. We’re listening to what the purchasers need; they need extra hospitality. They need extra grandstands. They need distinctive, branded F and B (meals and beverage) and hospitality experiences, and we’ve added lots this 12 months.”

Amongst 15 of these branded experiences are Hakkasan, Nobu, Roka, Ce La Vi, Opa, and The Maine.

“We bought out in a short time of most of our merchandise, and we’re beginning to consider what we have to do for 2024 to fulfill this demand.”

Al-Noaimi famous that Yas Marina Circuit had more and more seen an increase in followers coming from overseas, notably Europe.

He stated: “On the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we had 140,000 attendees over the complete weekend. And should you break down that record of attendees, over 70 p.c of them have been coming from exterior the UAE, which demonstrates the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is actually a worldwide occasion.

“It’s bringing in, from a tourism perspective, a big variety of guests to Abu Dhabi, into the UAE. And out of that 70 p.c, over 80 p.c of them stayed 4 nights or extra within the UAE. So, from a macroeconomic affect, that’s vital.

“We’re positively seeing the worldwide numbers develop. There are plenty of European followers that journey to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Now we have a giant contingent of Dutch followers supporting Max Verstappen, however from throughout Europe, as properly.”

Ethara was launched in Might and since then Yas Island has hosted the NBA Abu Dhabi Video games for the second 12 months operating, in addition to UFC 294, and the World Supercross Abu Dhabi GP.

“We introduced within the groups that used to take care of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Administration and Flash Leisure below one construction and one administration.

“Now we have a tremendous workforce of over 300 seasoned consultants within the occasion and venue administration house,” Al-Noaimi added.

He identified the rising significance of sustainability in shaping Yas Marina Circuit.

“We put in place a method, a sustainability technique again in 2020 and we’re properly underway on its execution. Final 12 months we noticed essentially the most sustainable Grand Prix we have now ever delivered.

“We obtained the FIA Three-Star certification for sustainability in 2021, which is the very best stage of accreditation, the primary circuit within the area to realize that.”

Proof of that’s the photo voltaic panel farm situated adjoining to the monitor forward of Flip 5.

Al-Noaimi stated: “For 2023, we’re including to what we’ve achieved in earlier years. We’ve simply transformed all our monitor lights to LED, so we’ve lowered our necessities {of electrical} energy.

“Moreover, we’ve simply accomplished the constructing of 1 megawatt of solar energy at Yas Marina Circuit. That one megawatt goes to fulfil 30 p.c of our energy necessities all year long.

“And we have now clear goals for 2030 and 2040, with reductions of our carbon footprint. And yearly we can have increasingly more initiatives.”

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend may even take a glimpse into the way forward for regional drivers when the younger stars of Yas Warmth Racing Academy take to the monitor.

“We’re actually pleased with the members of the workforce which have participated to date. This 12 months, we’re actually excited in regards to the trophy race, assist race for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Formulation 4 UAE, we’re going to have a number of members of Yas Warmth taking part.

“Now we have the return of Hamda and Amna Al-Qubaisi to Yas Warmth. Now we have Rashid Al-Dhaheri. He was under the minimal age final 12 months and it’s the primary time he’s going to take part in Formulation 4 UAE and race at his dwelling Grand Prix, we’re actually enthusiastic about that,” Al-Noaimi added.

Different proficient drivers collaborating are Keanu Al-Azhari, Zack Scoular, and Harry Hannam.

“We’re actually proud to have this platform to indicate the capabilities and the event of younger UAE nationals and residents within the single-seater house.

“And for 2024, we’ve already introduced that we are going to be internet hosting F1 Academy on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is the female-only championship. It can type one of many assist races in 2024 on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” Al-Noaimi stated.