Saturday, 6 November 2010

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Fanzone

The main event in the Abu Dhabi calendar, the F1 Grand Prix, has taken over the city. There are celebrations all over the city and I went to visit the main fanzone, on the Corniche beach.

The F1 is Abu Dhabi is a big deal. A series of events have been running in the build up to the race. The 'Yasalam' festival has included a beach cinema, beach concerts and fanzones at different venues in the city.

The focus of attention is along the Corniche. The fanzone there is a heavily branded affair, as you would expect. There are lots of model cars, chequered flags, oversized racing helmets and pther racing paraphernalia. There's also the obligatory shop selling expensive Ferrari t-shirts, shoes and beach towels.

The main section of the fanzone is a little more interesting. The section is heavily sponsored by Mubadala and feels very corporate. However this has paid for a few little treats. One of these treats is the Yas Island Circuit simulator.

In the simulator, you sit in life size replicas of a Ferrari F1 car. There are three large screens in front of you which display the track, just like a computer game, but with extra peripheral vision. Once the race starts you are able to race around the Yas Island circuit. The replica car you are sat in moves, rolls and bumps in an attempt to replicate the real thing. I found the steering to be super sensitive and could barely keep the car on the track. My car was all over the place and I could barely keep the car in a straight line what with the car throwing me from left to right.

The second treat the corporate sponsors have paid for was my favourite. It's a similar set up, with you being sat in a replica car, with a screen in front of you. However you are actually racing remote controlled cars around a track in front of you, rather than a computer game. What's better, your RC car has a built in camera, so you get an in-car view on the screen in front of you. Racing against your friends RC cars was a lot more fun, and it was cool to have in in-car view.

It wouldn't take a whole hour to see everything in the fanzone. Whilst not the most amazing experience it was amusing. I wouldn't make a special trip to go see it, but if you happen to be on the Corniche you should definitely check it out.


  1. That sounds like a lot of fun being there. Also I believe I could find a lot of good items to bring back home from that event.



living in the United Arab Emirates