Formula 1 fever kicks off in Abu Dhabi with 60,000 tickets on sale
More than 60,000 people are expected to descend upon the capital of the UAE to watch the seventh Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Tickets for the 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix went on sale on Sunday as the Yas Marina Circuit CEO kicked off a campaign with organizers leading up to the highly anticipated November race.
More than 60,000 people are expected to descend upon the UAE capital to watch the seventh Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Director of the Abu Dhabi Events Bureau Faisal Al Sheikh said in a press conference.
“The return of the race means Abu Dhabi has another opportunity to show the world our wonderful facilities and showcase warm Arabian hospitality we are so proud of,” he told reporters.
“This is our seventh Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and we keep going from strength to strength,” Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of the Yas Marina Circuit, said.
Almost 72 percent of spectators in last year’s race came from Europe, Al Sheikh said, adding that the figure reflected the reach of the campaign in the continent, a “key and strategic market.”
Demand is expected to be at an all-time high this year after the arena sold-out in 2014.
Two years ago, spectator capacity was increased to accommodate 60,000 people at the circuit which was designed by Hermann Tilke, one of four designers recognized by the Formula 1 governing body: the FIA.
However, organizers will not be increasing the number of tickets in the near future but will focus instead on increasing the quality of the experience.
“It’s very difficult and problematic [to increase spectator capacity] because the design of the circuit was for a certain limit and we pushed that limit to the max over the past two years,” Al Ameri told Al Arabiya News.
“So our focus in the next two years is focusing on adding value to the consumer and get them more exciting elements throughout the event.”
In addition to ticket holders, thousands are also expected to visit Abu Dhabi during the Formula 1 weekend, which runs between Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 “to experience the race atmosphere and enjoy the city-wide entertainment.”
As to the after-race concerts on Yas Island, which saw artists such as Beyonce, Pharrell and Kings of Leon perform in recent years, this year’s acts are yet to be announced.
Additionally, organizers plan of “infusing” UAE culture into the race as it falls a few days before the country’s 44th national day, which falls on Dec. 2.
“We want to infuse the Emirati culture and an emirate theme and we hope that we get a kickoff for a national day celebration at the Yas Marina Circuit,” Al Ameri told Al Arabiya News.
“We have a list of activities and programs we’re building with [key partners] and we will announce it throughout the campaign,” he added.
British Lewis Hamilton, driving for the Mercedes team, won last year’s Grand Prix.
“After the season opener in Australia, Lewis Hamilton looks like once again being the driver to beat – and it will be interesting to see what happens in today’s Malaysian GP, and if he isndeed challenging for his third World Title by the time Formula 1 returns to Abu Dhabi,” Al Sheikh said.
Shortly after the press conference, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Malaysian Grand Prix.
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