2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, An Insider's Report

The 2013 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX is a thrill ride for not only the drivers but for all who attended. Race fans and the jet set from around the world descended on Yas Island to take in the sights and sounds, and adreneline  F1 Grand Prix weekend.  It is three days of fast paced action on the track and away with countless events activities to enjoy.

This was my first Formula 1 anywhere other than Monaco where I have been several times. Monaco during F1 is the playground of the rich and famous and known for the fabulous parties, mega yachts and a glittering of celebrities. Based on my past F1 experiences, my level of comparison and expectations for Formula 1 Abu Dhabi where very high. 

I can say that F1 in Abu Dhabi was a spectacular weekend. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience to watch the races and experience true Arabian hospitality then with the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi and their VIP F1 treatment. F1 Abu Dhabi has it all from the setting on the beautiful Yas Island to all there was to do and see from major concerts with Jay Z, Muse, and Depeche Mode to the  parties at the Amber Lounge ,Cirque du Soir, Iris, and Paddock Club.  See our full Insiders F1 Night Life Review. We had the chance to not only enjoy the Yas Island Marina and all of its venues and restaurants as well as enjoy the after race parties at the most amazing yachts. 

The setting for the Grand Prix is Yas Island, on the eastern side of Abu Dhabi. It’s home to numerous 5-star hotels and the Ferrari World Theme Park, and the 5.55-kilometre (3.45-mile) Yas Marina Circuit. The track has many unique touches. It runs alongside the island’s spectacular marina; it passes under the new 5-star Yas Viceroy. The track is unlike any seen in the world today and a challenge even to the most experienced driver. German architect Hermann Tilke incorporated high speed passes, varying elevations, slow cornering and runs alongside the island’s spectacular marina.  It passes under the new 5-star Yas Viceroy which compliments this spectator friendly track and the perfect place to take in the race from their VIP terrace parties of from your very own room balcony. 

On the mainland, Abu Dhabi also has lots to offer and had several events associated with the Grand Prix. Abu Dhabi is the largest and wealthiest of the seven United Arab Emirates, with a crude oil supply that isn’t expected to run out until the 22nd century. Abu Dhabi is also the world’s richest city. The average net worth of the 420,000 permanent citizens is US$17 million.

It is hard to believe that the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 is only in its fifth year. This year the race experienced a sell out crowd of 55,000 fans who were there to cheer on their favorite driver. This year the race was won by the German and favorite Sebastian Vettel of the Red Bull Renault team who continued his domination as this year’s world champion. He was followed by his teammate UK’s Mark Webber. Vettrl owns the track record which he’s held since the races inception in 2009.

F1 Fan-tastic

This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix also hosted GP2, GP3 and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as the support races.

When you are the new hotel in a landscape of luxury you are expected to shine among the stars.  The Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi is awe-inspiring is literally part of the F1 Experience as the track actually passes through the resort. The design of the hotel is from the future with design that is art as much as it is architecture.  Its curved shapes and canopy of colored lights make it the centerpiece of  Yas Island.

Thrilling Views from the stands

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi at Night

The Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi  made each of their guest’s F1 experience exhilarating, glamorous and memorable. The Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi  was the perfect place to make our base to enjoy F1 we were in the center of the action. There is so much to do and see not to mention the countless dining and entertainment options in this 500 room celebration of posh.  Beyond the velvet rope, they provide a F1 VIP viewing experience that rivals any in the world. There was an endless flow of bubbles and tasty canapés by the  Who’s Who of Chefs from the culinary world as we rubbed shoulders with the well to do from every imaginable place around the globe.  From the viewing terrace we were virtually trackside and experienced the deafening roar of cars and witnessed the blinding speed of the cars whizzing by in an unforgettable thrillfest.  

VVIP Race View from Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Terrace

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi F1 Experience: Trackside View

In addition to running through the Viceroy Hotel, the 3.5 mile track runs along side the Yas Marina. Yas Marina is  a super-yacht facility with a capacity of 175 berths managed by Camper and Nicholsons. The sparkling marina was at capacity with each of its berths filled with 20’ open hull boats to mindboggling  MegaYachts. The yachties in the marina had an up close and personal view of the race as they hobnobbed with the international yacht set and their guests. 


Yas Marina is so much more than just a place to park one’s yacht. It is an entertainment complex onto itself with several restaurants, bars, and other facilities.

Yas Marina the place to wine and dine be before, during, and after the race restaurants and lounges  such as the internationally renowned Cipriani, a favorite amongst the stars, to Stars N Bars from its Monte Carlo namesake. Other dining and entertainment options at the marina include newcomers such as Diablito Food and Music – who add a Spanish flair with an amazing rooftop terrace and tapas to match, Aquarium – a thai seafood restaurant offering the freshest catches of the day, Café d’Alsace – a French German café and brassiere and Lebanese restaurant Rozannah.

We experienced Diablito Food and Music and their varied and yummy Spanish tapas. The two story waterside venue was perfect for taking in our first races. The restaurant has indoor and al fresco dining under the canopy and faces the marina on one side and the track at the rear.

We also experienced Iris Restaurant and Lounge which is a fantastic lounge to take in the sunset with live music is sure to become the new place to be in Yas Island. Iris is brought all the way from Beirut, proves time and time again to be the favorite place to cool down during the sultry summer months and is THE place to be during Race Week. Iris has a fantastic ambience and a huge terrace with panoramic views of the marina’s dazzling yachts and the lights of the iconic Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi.  

Thirst Quencher at the Iris

Live Music at the Iris

Iris Restaurant and Lounge

After the races, the marina turned into the place to be and be seen on the yachts. Barefoot beauties graced the yachts with the Global Citizen yacht hosted by the Abu Dhabi tourism, Fashion TV and Global Citizen. Champaign and Canapés was the order of the day as the DJ got the crowd moving. It was more like a club than a yacht with the whole set up of lights and sound. There were several celebrites in place including football great Maradona, Akon, and former WBA Heavyweight Boxing Champ, David Haye.

Yacht Views

Our next yacht stop was the party hosted by the Crystal Group. What an affair as the promoters brought their best in guests, music, and an overall good time.  The Crystal Group is one of the top event and nightlife organizers in the Middle East and hosts People at the Raffles Dubai, one of the top clubs in the region. It was a personal challenge to pull one’s self away from the Crystal Group yacht party to take in the other party pleasures of the evening.  

Yacht Parties

The Night Life at F1 Abu Dhabi did not disappoint and was on par with what one would expect when the rich and glamorous come together in an electric setting. From the Amber Lounge to the concerts at the Du Arena, there was something to excite the most jaded of jet setters. See our full Insiders F1 Night Life Review.

The 2013 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX was an F1 experience that rivaled any in the world. The setting on beautiful Yas Island, ambiance of Yas Marina and its yacht scene and restaurants and lounges, to the incredible Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. The action of the race's biggest competition was the action away the track.  

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