Abu Dhabi GP profile
Last Updated: 07/01/15 3:35pm
Costing a staggering £800m, Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit was designed to showcase the country on a world stage.
Costing a staggering £800m, Abu Dhabi's space-age Yas Marina circuit was designed to showcase the country on a world stage. In terms of jaw-dropping architecture and state-of-the-art facilities it certainly achieved that, right from the moment it was first revealed to the world in 2009.
Yas Marina staged the last race of the season both that year and in 2010, and while it missed out on the title showdown first time around, the following year it delivered the first four-way decider in F1 history.
However, rather than being able to fully bask in the glow of the unfolding drama as pre-race outsider Sebastian Vettel clinched his first title, the circuit was on the receiving end of criticism for its lack of overtaking opportunities after championship favourite Fernando Alonso spent lap after lap bottled up behind Vitaly Petrov's slower Renault.
In truth, the first few years brought some turgid and processional affairs. But the Middle East venue finally produced a race to match the surroundings in 2012 as Yas Marina played host to 55 chaotic laps of racing that witnessed numerous collisions, two safety cars, some brilliant overtaking moves and a pitlane to podium charge from Vettel.
Throw in the first win of Kimi Raikkonen's comeback - and his hilarious "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" radio remark - and Abu Dhabi could rightly claim to have played host to the most entertaining race of the year.
Away from the track, entertainment has certainly never been in short supply owing to Abu Dhabi's ambitious attempt to bring the glamour of picturesque Monaco to the desert.
The venue's facilities are certainly unparalleled in F1: the surrounding harbour is capable of hosting over 150 yachts, whilst a five-star hotel which lights up at night (and changes colour) straddles the circuit. Next door lies the 'Ferrari World' theme park, featuring a rollercoaster that replicates the G-forces of an F1 car.
Developers also included a novel F1 'first' in the track's design - in the form of a pitlane exit tunnel which filters cars under the track and to a safer point of release at Turn Three.
The addition of two DRS Zones for 2011 and 2012 helped improve overtaking and the success of that latter race suggests Yas Marina has finally arrived.