A fast and furious guide to everything race related…

Abu Dhabi is no one trick pony when it comes to sporting events, the emirate’s event calendar is bursting at the ring-hemmed seams with showcases of international competitive excellence. But few capture the imagination, and the world’s attention, in quite the same way as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Taking place this year between November 17 and 20, the F1 weekend encompasses so much more than just ‘cars going round a track’. There are the after race concerts, the sophisticated and occasionally less sophisticated but compensatingly wild viewing parties, elite Michelin-approved dining pop-ups, and yes very fast cars going round a track, very quickly.

These are the best reasons to get excited, and booked in, for the Abu Dhabi F1 2022.

The race

You’re probably already aware, but just in case you’re the sort of fairweather fan that’s along for the fun and picks who they cheer for on the basis of car colour, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the final race of the season. A fact that was highlighted in a never more dramatic way, than with last year’s race, where Max Verstappen (I think we can fairly say) snatched victory from the jaws of controversy on the very last lap. Leaving Lewis Hamilton, one Diver’s Championship title away from forever glory.

This year the Abu Dhabi finalé will likely be a victory lap for Verstappen who already has 11 race wins under his belt, and it’s entirely possible that he’ll seal the deal at Singapore on October 2, a full five races before the season close. But winners never take their foot off the pedal — Hamilton will be out for vindication, and Mercedes are still battling it out with Ferrari for second place in the Team leaderboards. There’s still a lot that will be decided over that long November weekend.

Fresh after some major track alterations (designed to allow greater opportunities for overtaking) in 2021, a brand new viewing stand has been added to the circuit’s North Straight. But if you don’t have grandstand tickets, we’re afraid it’s bad news — they’re fully sold out. Some general admission options are left for day one of qualifying but if you want to see the thrilling climax to a whole year’s worth of *incomprehensible car noises*, you’ll need to get a hospitality pass.

The concerts

Organised by Flash Entertainment and staged at what is now known as Etihad Park (the artist hub formally known as du Arena) Abu Dhabi’s Yasalam After Race Concerts are the stuff of legend. A gloriously eclectic mix of triple A, off-track on-tracks talent, is jetted in the capital to perform for one night only after each day’s motorsport sessions. The Yasalam ‘previous featured artist’ list reads like a Hall of Fame rosta — Eminem, Beyonce, The Kings of Leon, Jay-Z Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Prince, Britney Spears, Blur, Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Muse, Post Malone, The Weeknd and Stormzy, to name just a few.

And the only way to see them play, is to hold track tickets for whichever day the artist is performing. You cannot purchase concert tickets separately.

The confirmed artists for the Abu Dhabi F1 2022, are EDM maestros, Swedish House Mafia — headlining the show on Friday, November 18 and member of the rap aristocracy, Kendrick Lamar taking his brooding philosophical bars to the stage on Saturday, November 19.

That still leaves Thursday’s opener, which tends to be something catering for the younger, on-trend audiences; and Sunday — the mega artist, to close out proceedings with a back catalog of sing-a-long bangers. Flash Entertainment love a surprise announcement, so finding out when and who will be playing, is always an exciting game of musical Cluedo.

Golden Circle passes for each of the concerts are still available to purchase.

The dining

Every year to go along with the many established permanent culinary seats in the capital, the F1 brings a host of internationally renowned, award-winning restaurant pop-ups. For foodies, even race fan ones, the on-plate theatre on offer can be equally, if not more, exhilarating than that on track.

This year will be no different. All three of the big names dropped so far picked up gongs in the What’s On Awards 2022. Already confirmed as the Grand Prix’s gastronomic companions are…

CÉ LA VI

ce la vi club terrace

Located on the 54th floor of the Sky View Hotel, this Michelin Guide restaurant isn’t just breaking Instagram because its swing-to-Burj-Khalifa views, the menu of international fine dining classics delivers outstanding taste experiences. You’ll find the F1 temporary location, rather fittingly, on the Yas Marina Circuit rooftop at Luna Lounge.

Gohan

This super trendy speakeasy found inside La Cantine, offers Japanese-inspired street-food and feels like the perfect pick for gourmet Grand Prix grazing. Expect little nuggets of nigiri overtaking gyoza on the home straight, high octane bowls of ramen FTW and tasty meaty skewers for pre-podium treats. Gohan’s new limited time pop-up will be found within the North Grandstand.

Ninive

Ninive

Finally, available to explore within the existing Shams Suite venue — Ninive is a veritable celebration of Middle Eastern cuisine, a rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar offering epic grilled fare, mezze, merguez couscous (thank us later), skewers and salads. We couldn’t think of a better ambassador to give the Abu Dahbi F1 culinary ensemble, an authentic local edge.

Images: Provided