x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

World's media say circuit pressed the right buttons

Foreign journalists covering the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday were impressed by the Yas Marina Circuit.

Foreign journalists covering the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday were impressed by the Yas Marina Circuit, and grateful to Jenson Button and Mark Webber for giving the crowds an exciting finish. Tom Cary of The Daily Telegraph called the race a "spectacular end to a truly spectacular season" and referred to the "dazzling Yas Marina circuit in all its neon-lit glory". Cary also hailed the late battle between Button and Webber, writing "it sent 50,000 race-goers off into the desert night chattering excitedly about an event that for a long time looked like being a billion-dollar procession. The circuit may not have won universal approval from racing purists but it was enough for now. The most expensive Formula One race in history could be classified a success."

Brad Spurgeon, in The New York Times, applauded the first day-night F1 race, writing: "The twilight aspect of the race was a success as spectators saw a constantly changing show from day to night as the sun set over the track, and the roof of the Yas Marina Hotel lit up in its multi-coloured glass panel top." But not everyone was on board. Edward Gorman of The Times of London wrote: "Money, to put it mildly, was no object on this multibillion-pound project, so there was plenty of interest in what sort of race the immaculate new Hermann Tilke-designed circuit produced. It certainly looked good under floodlights, as dusk turned to darkness with the colourful blue wave motif on the roof of the Yas Hotel at its heart ...

"The Grand Prix was no classic and there was some evidence that the layout tended to spread the cars out, leading to little in the way of wheel-to-wheel action. Whether this was primarily the fault of the track configuration or the nature of Formula One car design was the subject of some debate." Byron Young of The Mirror complained: "There was next to no drama in one hour and 43 minutes of what only an ardent fan could call 'action'."

Maurice Hamilton in The Guardian said race organisers had Button to thank for an entertaining struggle with Webber for second place. "It brought to life the second half of an otherwise processional race on a circuit that appears to follow the familiar trend of the latest generation of smooth race tracks by mitigating against overtaking." @Email:poberjuerge@thenational.ae