Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
10th – 12th Decemeber 2021
The Yas Marina Circuit is situated in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the Abu Dhabi emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Grand Prix circuit is on Yas Island – a man made island that has sprung up since 2006 for leisure, shopping and entertainment. The track is located some 20km from the city centre, close to Abu Dhabi international airport and accessible by road, sea and air.
Flying in via Abu Dhabi or Dubai for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The closest airport to the Yas Marina circuit is Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), which at 8km makes it the closest international airport to any F1 circuit.
Take a look also at flights to Dubai International (DXB) which you may find are cheaper. Be warned though that getting from Dubai to Yas Marina Circuit is not straight forward and certainly not something you’ll want to do 3 days on the trot.
Going back and forth a couple of times to the airport in Dubai shouldn’t be a worry but for going to and from the circuit it’s far more preferable to find accommodation in Abu Dhabi and base yourself there over the weekend.
Kiwi.com lets you search for the lowest cost flights and shows you route combinations that often don’t show up on other search engines. If you miss a connecting flight due to delay the Kiwi guarantee means you can take the next available flight at no extra cost.
Getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina
The 130km trip to the centre of Abu Dhabi is about 2 hours by bus from Dubai, in normal traffic. Buses leave from the Dubai Al Ghubaiba Bus Station which itself can be reached by taxi in about 20 minutes from the airport, or by taking the metro to Al Ghubaiba station.
Bus number 102 passes close to Yas Island en route to the main bus terminal in Abu Dhabi. This bus costs 15AED and departs about every 40 minutes.
From central Abu Dhabi you’ll be able to take bus number 190 to Yas Island (see buses to the Grand Prix below).
If you’re flying out of Dubai after the race and you have an Emirates ticket, you may be able to avail of a free shuttle service that they operate between their city centre office in Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Airport.
A taxi from the centre of Dubai to Yas Marina takes about 1 hour in normal traffic and will cost about 400AED.
Getting around in Abu Dhabi and Yas Island, and transport to the Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi is a city built for ground transportation, and taxis and buses are common and not expensive. The city centre’s grid-like layout means its easily navigable, though the traffic can be horrendous.
The main Bus station in Abu Dhabi – an unmistakable futurist style building, rendered in Petronas green concrete – is on the corner of Hazaa Bin Zayed Road and 4th Street, in the city centre. A single trip ticket anywhere in the city costs about 50 cents.
for the Grand Prix
Yas Island itself can be reached from the city or airport by buses which are efficient and inexpensive. From the main bus station, take bus route number 190 and expect it to take from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. Buses leave about every half an hour.
for the Airport
From the airport there are a number of bus routes. Bus number A1, departing every 30 – 60 minutes is a 24 hour service connecting terminals 1 and 2 with downtown Abu Dhabi. If you’re flying out of Abu Dhabi airport, chances are you can avail of a free shuttle bus. Contact your airline to find out.
The silver taxis with yellow signs are a common sight in Abu Dhabi streets. They are well regulated and quite well priced especially if you’re going to the Grand Prix as a group.
Taking a cab between the city centre and either the airport or Yas Island will cost about 70AED and take about 40 minutes. In the arrivals hall you may be approached by taxi drivers offering their services which are usually best avoided.
Uber also operates in Abu Dhabi and can work out a little cheaper than a taxi.
If you’re a first time Uber user, F1S readers can get €10 off their first ride when signing up.
for the Grand Prix
The main pick up/drop off area for taxis is just outside the Operations Gate and until 6pm you’ll find another area just outside the West Gate.
Going to the Grand Prix circuit, you might find the taxi driver isn’t familiar with where the drop off points are. If you have this trouble, directing him or her to let you out at Ferrari World and using the Circuit Circular shuttle from here can be more straight forward.
After the Grand Prix, getting a cab can be torturous with reports previous years of people having to wait up to 2 hours. The post race concert goes some way to alleviate these problems, staggering the departure time of spectators, and the organizers have made increased efforts to manage this situation but it’s probably not something that’s going to dramatically improve any time soon.
To avoid this long wait it may help to take the shuttle bus as far as taxi ranks outside the circuit, like those at du Arena, Ferrari World, Yas Plaza Hotels or Yas Mall.
Driving, Parking and Car Hire
Parking is much improved at the Yas Marina Circuit with fans arriving by car able to park at the Yas Mall car park and pick up the Circular Shuttle to get to the track.
There’s no shortage of car hire companies at the airport but you’ll get better deals reserving one in advance using a search aggregator like RentalCars.com that searches multiple car hire companies at once for the best prices.
Abu Dhabi has a zero tolerance approach to drink driving and if any amount of alcohol is detected in your blood there will be a mandatory jail sentence. Not a great way to remember your F1 trip. Also be advised that you’re likely to witness some quite dangerous antics among local drivers – something better left to the F1 stars and enjoyed at the circuit.
Yas Island Free Shuttle Buses
Yas Island itself can feel a bit like a theme park so it comes as no surprise that there’s free shuttle buses taking visitors to and from attractions, hotels, shopping malls and of course the various grandstands.
These can be useful for some of the longer distances especially when the day is at it’s hottest, but other times walking is preferable to what can be a long wait for a crowded bus. After the race these buses are jam-packed as most fans make their way to the concert arena.
There are five free shuttle bus routes connecting various points at the Yas Marina Circuit, including dedicated routes for the Thursday pitlane walk, Paddock Club and Yas Suites.
The 2 main routes you’re most likely to use are the Circuit Circular Shuttle and the Yas Courtesy Shuttle. These both make stops at West Gate so if you need to transfer between the two routes you can hop off here and change to the other route.
Circuit Circular Shuttle
As well as the grandstands below the bus also stops at several Yas Island locations including YAS Plaza Hotels, the MAD Club, Yas Marina, du Arena, Yas Mall Main and Tyrano Entrance, Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World.
- Grandstands: South Grandstand, Marina Grandstand, West Grandstand and North Grandstand.
- Schedule: Thursday to Saturday 9am to 1am; Sunday 10.30am to 1am, every 15 minutes.
Yas Courtesy Shuttle
This shuttle links the East and West Gates of the circuits stopping at the Main Grandstand Shuttle Stop, North Oasis and the West Gate.
- Grandstands: Main Grandstand, North Grandstand, West Grandstand.
- Schedule: Thursday to Saturday 9.30am to 1am; Sunday 11am to 1am, every 15 minutes.
Pit lane walk Shuttle bus
Look out for this shuttle bus if attending the pitlane walk on Thursday. The route connects the Red Car Park and East Gate to the Central Bus Area, a short walk from the pitlane entrance.
- Schedule: Every 15 minutes on Thursday from 10.30am to 3pm
Paddock Club Shuttle Bus
This shuttle bus connects the Red 7 car park and Paddock Club. You’ll find the shuttle bus stop in the west end of the Red 7 parking lot.
- Schedule: This shuttle runs based on demand on Friday from 12pm to 9pm, Saturday from 10.30am to 9pm and Sunday from 11.30am to 9pm.
Yas Suite Shuttle
Anyone with tickets for the Yas Suite hospitality area in the Main Grandstand can use this dedicated shuttle bus to get from the Red 7 car park.
- Schedule: Friday and Saturday from 9.30am to 9pm and Sunday from 11am to 9.30pm.