x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Yas Circuit organisers iron out last year's kinks

Race organisers make improvements, and fans take notice, with no reports of traffic woes and plenty of hospitality venues open on the first day.

ABU DHABI // An early deluge did not deter the most eager of Formula One fans yesterday, as the first of thousands began to file through the turnstiles at the racing circuit from 10am.

Returning visitors were happy to find several improvements at the Yas Island venue this year.

For a start, all of the Oasis areas were open on the first day.

"There is also a lot more shade around and places to eat," said Christian Stirm, from Dubai.

Everything else seemed to flow smoothly, with no reports of traffic woes that could compare to last year's Beyonce concert.

Paul Angus, a 25-year-old general manager for a technical maintenance service company, said the logistics were much better as well.

"Even the journey from the carpark to here is only 10 minutes," he said.

Richard Cregan, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, which manages the Yas Marina Circuit, said last year's experience provided an opportunity to solve some of the teething problems.

"We got it right on the Sunday of last year, and then we wanted to make it better for this year."

Hasnain Qazi, 30, and his wife, Hareem, 26, both new to the F1 experience, sampled some of the food available and were pleased.

"The pizza was average but the shawarma is good," said Mr Qazi. "I paid Dh10 for it, which is double what'd you expect, but it is the grand prix."

Event security confiscated a variety of banned items, including lighters, laser devices, speakers and water.

Fans were told however that there would be free water inside the gates available at four points between the main, north, south and west grandstands, as well as the karting track.