Abu Dhabi Grand Prix vs. Bahrain Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi has said it is willing to accommodate the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix being rescheduled at the end of the season -but how will the two fare head to head?
Capacity: 50,000. Though the seating is comparable to the Bahrain Grand Prix , the arrangement of the seating allows for some interesting sights for spectators. Unlike the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has seating not only in the front and the end of the track but also around a few corners.
Capacity: 45,000. With rather boxy seating arrangement available only at the front and the back (and none around the corners) spectators at Bahrain Grand Prix end up missing out on a lot of the action.
Length: 5.55km, Top speed: 317 kph, Time: 1min40sec. Because Kipp is the snob that we are, we are giving neither track a point for this category. Why? Because both the tracks, which were both designed by Hermann Tilke, have allowed for some rather boring processional racing. Boo.
Length: 5.41 km, Top speed: 345 kph, Time: 1min30secs. Just like its younger Abu Dhabian brother, the Bahrain Circuit doesn’t allow for the kind of overtaking that makes for interesting races. Yawn.
The Abu Dhabi track has a Yacht club, Karting Center, Drag Racing Center, Driving School, Business Park, and, just round the corner, a massive indoor theme park (Ferrari World). Plus it can adapt to become an impressive arena that hosts world class acts around the year but especially during the Grand Prix.
Sure the Bahrain Grand Prix may boast of having a 4x4 desert obstacle course, Kart Zone, Advanced Driving Center, BMW Performance Center and international standard drag strip but it by no means at all boasts the kind of entertainment and glamour that Yas Island can.
Ok so maybe when it first opened, the lack of activity on the island won it the title of Ghost town. But the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is 35km from downtown Abu Dhabi, now has plenty of hotels available for the convenience of the guests. And when all else fails there are an abundance of hotels available in neighboring Abu Dhabi and Dubai only a half an hour drive away.
Isolated doesn’t even begin to describe the Bahrain Grand Prix. To drive back to your hotel, will take you 45 minutes at a minimum to get from Sakhir, which is 30km south of Manama. And even when you do get to the main city finding a hotel room during the over booked Grand Prix season is tough.
For this section we will hand it over to those who know a lot more about racing than Kipp. V8 champion James Courtney reportedly said "To be honest, the track [at Abu Dhbai] is very boring to drive ... in that it has zero character...Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were the two most boring races [of 2010]" McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh was reported as saying "It is a great facility and everything else, but as we saw in GP2 and as we saw in F1 it is almost impossible to overtake here. The two protagonists, Alonso and Mark (Webber) just didn't pass anybody ...It was a very boring race."
Last March, after the Bahrain Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton told reporters "I had dinner with my mum last night and even she said the race was kind of boring." Do we need to elaborate?
Though we may need to reconsider our view in this section given the latest developments, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix generally does have a lot more attention and hype because of its position later in the season. For inciting within Kipp just a bit of excitement at the outcome of the race Abu Dhabi gets our vote.
Sure there was a lot of interest surrounding this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but little of the interest had to do with the actual race. Though genuine F1 fans don’t discriminate, the starting of the season hardly compares to the latter parts.
The Yas Marina Circuit is the newest track on the Formula One calendar, and has capacity for a higher number of visitors per day than the International Circuit. Because its races do boast a series of high profile concerts tied to the racing weekend (featuring global superstars like Prince and Aerosmith), as well as a massively popular Formula One fan zone on the city’s corniche, there is no denying when it boils down to it, the Yas Circuit beats Bahrain in terms of prestige any day.
Bahrain is now well established, and well respected. It broke new ground when it brought Formula One to the region, and as such has its own place in the history of motorsport. But Kipp is excited by the latest and greatest, we’re afraid.