x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Grand Prix ticket sales are racing ahead

Ticket sales have gone into high gear for the Formula One racing event in November at Yas Marina Circuit.

More than 70 per cent of Formula One tickets have been sold for the 2011 weekend of racing at Yas Marina Circuit.

The F1 circus will roll into Abu Dhabi on Friday, November 11 for the first day's practice session in what organisers have called a carnival weekend.

Sebastian Vettel, of Red Bull Racing, is leading the drivers' championship by 85 points and will be one of the 27 drivers qualifying on November 12. "It's a case of [Vettel] losing it rather than someone else winning it. I can't see Red Bull allowing that to happen. But Ferrari are definitely coming back with their package and McLaren are the biggest competitor at this stage," said Richard Cregan, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, which manages the 5.5km track.

Fans, he said, will be still in for a good weekend of racing because drivers will be out there to race.

"If the championship is decided by the time it comes to Yas, the pressure is off the drivers and they go out to race and try to win the Grand Prix. They won't be too worried about engine life and will be pushing it to the maximum," he added.

Millions around the world will watch when the engines roar into the first, tight corner in third gear at 127kph on November 13 at 5pm. They will reach top speeds of about 300kph in the straights.

In the past two years, the 50,000 tickets have sold out just days before the race. With only three months to go before this year's race, Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management (ADMM), the event organisers, said it was confident the race would sell out again.

Mr Cregan said there will be more activities for families and fans.

"We are pleased with the way ticket sales are tracking, and it is shaping up to be another great event," he said.

Besides F1 racing, spectators will get to watch the GP2 final, the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East live on the same track.

All the races will be broadcast on big screens in front of some of the grandstands. When there is no racing, the Fan Zones will have music, food stalls and street performers.

A concert will follow each racing day. Previous performers have included Beyonce, Aerosmith and Prince.

Standard tickets are available in the Marina and South Grandstands. They cost Dh1,800 for two days and Dh2,000 for three days. The main, north and west grandstands have already sold out.

Premium category one tickets are still available for Dh4,250. Holders of these three-day tickets have access to balcony seating and air-conditioned lounges with food. Premium ticket holders will also have access to parking at the track. A limited number of these tickets is available in the Main Grandstand, while a wider selection is available in the North and West Grandstands.

eharnan@thenational.ae