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Visitors watch the qualifying sessions of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on giant screens at the F1 FanZone on the corniche. Duncan Chard for the National.
Visitors watch the qualifying sessions of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on giant screens at the F1 FanZone on the corniche. Duncan Chard for the National.

Abu Dhabi's corniche revs up F1 fans

For those who didn't - or couldn't - snap up a ticket for the practice and qualifying rounds, or even today's main event, the FanZone is a chance to soak up the atmosphere on the big screens.

ABU DHABI // The excitement of the F1 weekend wasn't just confined to the Yas Marina Circuit.

Curious families and motorsport fans alike enjoyed a front-row seat for all the action on the grid at the FanZone on Abu Dhabi Corniche.

For those who didn't - or couldn't - snap up a ticket for the practice and qualifying rounds, or even today's main event, the FanZone was a chance to soak up the atmosphere on the big screens.

For petrol heads it was the next best thing to being at the circuit, while regular visitors to the Corniche enjoyed the added excitement of F1.

Emirati Rashid Al Kusairy, from Abu Dhabi, said: "The Corniche is my family's favourite destination. Most of time during the weekend we spend here. Ten times in a month I am here along with my family and children, but if there is a big event like this, then it's great for all of us."

Mr Rashid added: "We had a different experience at the F1 FanZone where my children were able to learn and play while gaming. But I will not able to catch up with the F1 competitions tomorrow as I have to go to work."

Student Humaid Abdullah, another Emirati, who lives in Khalifa City B, is also unable to attend today's race, so he jumped at the chance to come to the FanZone.

"I cannot miss my classes tomorrow. I am 17 so I do not drive, but once I get my driving licence I will try to watch F1 live."

Beats on the Beach, the three-day long celebration of local, music featuring performers from across the world, came to a close yesterday at Al Sahil Beach. But the FanZone will remain until the end of race day.

Interactive games, music and dance sessions, as well as sand art sculptures, attracted the youngsters, while adults were keen to check out the accident safety demonstrations and F1 simulators.

Emirates Driving Company used its own cars to give visitors an up-close experience of how seat belts can save lives in an accidents, while F1 simulator cars offered the adrenaline rush of powering around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Charles Jones, from the UK, was impressed by what the FanZone had to offer, which he described "outstanding" and something "which we never see in England".

"In the UK normally when F1 competitions are held I don't see anything like this where children can learn, play and engage in so many different activities."

His wife, Etna, simply added: "It's fun and I enjoyed lot."

Moroccan Essam Al Alaoi, who works as a front office manager at a hotel in Abu Dhabi, said: "This is my best place to unwind and every weekend I am here. But when there are some events like this, our entertainment is doubled, especially as we enjoy them for free.

"I would love to watch the Grand Prix live but I cannot make it tomorrow due to my work. But for sure I will be watching it on TV, like I have today on the big screen.

"It's more enjoyable as the replays give you a closer understanding of the cars."

Abdullatif, from Abu Dhabi, said: "It has been fun here throughout the week."

anwar@thenational.ae

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