Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Formula Rossa at 10: What it's like to ride the fastest roller coaster on the planet

We chat with general manager Bianca Sammut at 240kph before the park's milestone anniversary

It was 2006 when a sandy island most residents had never heard of was announced as the site for a $40 billion (Dh146.9bn) leisure project with a racetrack at its heart.

Hotels, a golf course and the city’s largest shopping mall would turn Habel Al Abyadh, or “the White Cord”, into Yas Island.

But for residents craving entertainment, nothing brought more excitement than the promise of Abu Dhabi’s first theme park: Ferrari World.

Next year, that theme park turns 10 – and its management has a long list of events planned to mark the occasion.

Although the team remain tight-lipped about the itinerary, several areas of the park suggest plans are well under way for the occasion. The theme park is a hit among residents and tourists, with millions having enjoyed a ride or two on the world's fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa.

“I love that it’s the world’s fastest roller coaster and that it’s in the Guinness Book of Records,” said the park’s general manager, Bianca Sammut. “You get to feel what it’s like to be an F1 driver, where you can feel that intensity, thrill and speed.”

The attraction catapults its riders to 240kph before they are shot up, dipped down and spun in loops for 92 seconds – though it feels much longer.

Maintenance and safety has been crucial to the park’s longevity as a top attraction.

Whether it is climbing steep tracks, inspecting lap bar hydraulic cylinders or regularly test-riding the Formula Rossa, an army of engineers, technicians and ride operators work round the clock to keep the amusement park in top condition.

"We put a lot of work into it and what goes on behind the scenes. There are so many details on so many levels from all the different departments. It’s very important to us, and we’re proud of the work that we do,” Sammut said.

Updated: September 4, 2019 11:38 AM

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