Abu Dhabi: The engines have fallen silent, pit doors are closed and the grandstands are empty, but Yas Marina Circuit is anything but quiet.
While motorsports fans eagerly await the start of the season-closing 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the task of making the circuit is ready to host the biggest racing event of the year is well under way.
An army of cleaners, painters, gardeners and technical experts have been working round the clock to make sure everything is perfect before the arrival of the drivers, 60,000 fans, scores of team officials plus dignitaries, celebrities and media from across the world.
Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “The circuit is a hive of activity leading up to the F1. A huge amount of work goes into preparing for the race weekend so that the circuit looks perfect and the fans in the grandstand and those watching on TV around the world enjoy the best F1 experience.
“Since our first Grand Prix in 2009 we have been finely tuning our operations. It’s a massive logistical task that is the culmination of 12 months’ meticulous planning.”
A staggering 4,500 litres of ‘Yas blue’ paint, 720 litres of ivory, 1,440 litres of red and 1,440 litres of white paint will be applied on the racing track.
The paint weighs between 2-3 tonnes, with 500 kilograms alone being applied to kerbing each day.
The track’s famous ‘Yas blue’ is unique to Yas Marina Circuit. Called pantone 321, the colour was chosen as it closely resembles the blue seas of the Arabian Gulf. The team tasked with painting the track’s distinctive white edging will have to cover a total of 26 kilometres. These are painted four times, which requires 450 litres of white paint. The record number of steps taken by a single track painter is 42,000. Thanks to the wider cars competing in the 2017 F1 Championship, the grid markings on the start/finish line have been removed and replaced with markings that are 200mm wider than previous slots to accommodate them.
Clearing away months of sand and dust from the Circuit’s grandstands is another important task for the cleaners, who are all equipped with high-pressure hoses, while the 75 acres of landscaped areas are given some TLC by gardeners who will plant 715 palm trees and 150,000 flowers before the race.
It’s not just the circuit that is cleaned and polished before the F1 weekend begins.
Every inch of the hotels on Yas Island, including the famous ‘glowing facade’ of the Yas Viceroy, is left sparkling in time for guests. While the huge cleaning operation is going on, behind the scenes the business of Formula 1 is getting into full swing ahead of race weekend on November 23-26.
Teams of motor racing experts and logistics managers direct fleets of transporters carrying everything required for the F2 Series and GP3 Series teams. These competitions, which will provide the F1 champion drivers of tomorrow, will battle it out for podium honours over the weekend.
As the safety of the drivers, teams and spectators is paramount in F1, experts will go over every inch of the circuit to make sure vital crash barriers are placed correctly and intact, the track is clean and clear and the circuit’s medical teams and first responders are positioned to deal with any emergency.
The logistics of organising the race weekend also extends to catering for tens of thousands of spectators in the grandstands, making sure the small army of customer service staff are on hand to help visitors enjoy the F1 experience to the fullest and that he world’s media are positioned to get the best view of the action on the track.
November 23: Calvin Harris
November 24: J. Cole
November 25: Mumford & Sons
Number 26: Pink