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F1 fans usually come to Abu Dhabi for the off track activities and entertainment as much as to watch live motorsports. That said, views at Abu Dhabi are not going to disappoint even the most experienced of F1 spectators. Most grandstands offer a multi corner view as well as a view of both a section of track in the immediate foreground and a more distant view of another section. The lack of a free to roam day where fans can watch from any grandstand regardless of what ticket they have is definitely a downside, but the addition of a general admission area is good news for fans who like to move around and get a varied view.
Best Grandstands at Yas Marina
While it can be boring being confined to 3 days in one grandstand, there’s nothing to stop you moving around the stand, and as each stand is quite dynamic with very different views to be had just a couple of seating blocks away, this isn’t as bad as you may think.
Positioned at the end of the second long straight and at the most common point for overtakes under DRS into turn 11, the south grandstand is never far from the action.
The setting is stunning with the yachts in Yas marina as your backdrop and the luminescent Yas Viceroy Hotel twinkling in the fading light.
After breaking hard into turn eleven, 3 further slow speed corners gives you ample time to appreciate the turning ability of the cars before they are full throttle again towards turn 15.
My preferred seats in this grandstand are right at the apex of the corner for unrivaled views of overtakes and these corners. Seats at the other end have a great view of where the track doubles back on itself and the turn in to turn 15, so it all comes down to what you prefer.
Wherever you are from left to right try and get seats higher up in the stand to be sure your view is unobstructed my the catch fencing and safety rails.
The west grandstand is an L-shaped stand that wraps itself around turn 8.
Braking hard for turn 8 after a long straight – the first of the DRS zones – there is always a chance of overtakes here. Drivers then thread their way through 2 slow corners before getting back on it, accelerating towards turn 11. Later in the lap you’ll see the cars again as they negotiate the the final two turns. Here the pitlane entry is clearly visible and depending on where you’re seated you can make out the lower positions of the grid and the start of the pitlane.
There are really 3 distinct sections in this grandstand, each with their own advantages.
From the left of the stand as you face the track, your view of the turn-in to turn 8 is distant and its not the best place to see overtakes. Watching the more distant section of track, turns 20 and 21, you’re well placed to enjoy this and there is an an exciting view down the grid and of some pit boxes. Overall, this spot is not the optimal place for the majority of the time, but it delivers on brief bursts of excitement like the start and the pitstops that few other places at the track can match.
Seats opposite the turn in to the apex of turn 8 have some of the best views of overtakes at this corner and the final two corners of the lap are clearly visible. Don’t expect to see anything of the pitstops or even the very last rows of the grid.
You’ll also find this to be the case seated on the exit of turn eight but you do have pretty good views of other parts of the track when the cars come back towards the end of the lap, and you have a better view of turns 8 and 9 as the cars will be head on which is more satisfying to see and makes for much more interesting photographs.
There are plenty of giant screens here so wherever you are seated you’ll know whats going on in the track sessions. The proximity to the paddock means you feel close to the action at all times and can appreciate the very unique atmosphere of the venue.
A giant grandstand that wraps around the turn 7 hairpin to form a horseshoe shape. The North grandstand is not just overlooking the hairpin but offers a decent view of the preceding turns 5 and 6.
Overtakes in this section are unlikely, though you should see drivers trying to perfect their exit, aiming to set up an overtake on the long back straight that follows the hairpin.
On the whole there are more exciting grandstands from which to watch in Abu Dhabi, but for keen photographers this stand has some obvious advantages as cars slow right down, and there’s a chance for some very nice head-on shots if you’re positioned at the exit to the hairpin.
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I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 25 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.
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