With the inaugural Indian Grand Prix fading from the rear view mirrors all eyes are now on Abu Dhabi in the Middle East as the Formula 1 circus rolls into town.
Taking place from November 11th-13th, the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will see thousands of sports fans from around the world descend on the emirate for a sporting spectacle unrivalled in the region.
With Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel having already been crowned 2011 drivers champion, the race is set to offer a celebration of Formula 1 at the iconic Yas Marina Circuit.
Now entering its third year, the event has gone from strength-to-strength.
Key to the success of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix has been the support of United Arab Emirates flag-carrier Etihad Airways.
Headline sponsor of the event since its inauguration in 2009, Etihad - recognised by the World Travel Award as the World’s Leading Airline in 2010 for the second consecutive year – flies two F1-branded aircraft to destinations across its network.
One of these specially-painted aircraft will perform a flyover at the Yas Marina Circuit to open the 2011 event.
The airline recently reiterated its support for the race, signing up to the role of title sponsor for a further four years.
Etihad Airways is a proud sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Signing the agreement, James Hogan, Etihad Airways chief executive, said: “We have seen that F1 is a highly effective vehicle, no pun intended, for promoting the values of the Etihad brand and showcasing our home city of Abu Dhabi to a massive global audience.
“The additional four year term also allows us to strengthen our footprint with F1 and leverage our investment in their global platform more strategically.”
As part of the partnership, Etihad will continue to promote the event globally through its various communication channels and marketing programs.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said: “The Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been an immense success for Etihad, Abu Dhabi and for Formula One, bringing the airline and destination to an estimate worldwide audience of more than 500 million F1 fans.
“The influx of visitors travelling to Abu Dhabi also brings a direct economic benefit, with over 20,000 people pouring into the UAE for the event, representing tens of millions of dollars for the local tourism industry.”
Another airline taking the lead in preparations for the event is Royal Jet – the Middle East’s Leading Private Jet Charter according to World Travel Awards.
Royal Jet will focus its activities on Abu Dhabi International Airport, where the international luxury flight services company has already confirmed record levels of business through its Fixed Base Operation and VIP Terminal facility.
“Just like the highly trained and experienced pit crews on the F1 track, Royal Jet’s very own expert fixed-base operator team also delivers a fast, high quality service to every aircraft that flies into our award-winning facility,” said Shane O’Hare, president of Royal Jet.
“Being in such close proximity to the Yas Marina circuit - three minutes by helicopter transfer or five minutes by limousine – is another big plus for the teams and spectators alike.”
World Travel Awards winner Royal Jet will play a key role in welcoming guests
It has been all change at the iconic Yas Viceroy – which bestrides the Yas Marina Circuit – following recent reflagging of the property.
Viceroy Hotels & Resorts took over management of the hotel – which has previously been recognised as the World’s Leading New Hotel by the World Travel Awards - in October and has rung in the changes ahead of the showpiece Grand Prix, including a new lobby.
Leading international design firm Poltrona Frau Emirates transformed the area by creating inviting clusters of space in which guests can lounge or work in an intimate yet open environment.
The upgraded lobby is complimented with new branding, an expanded greeting area as well as improved concierge facilities to ensure guests a swift and seamless check-in process.
The Hotel has also re-introduced the executive club suites with benefits that include complimentary access to the executive lounge, private check-in and checkout, among other amenities.
“The improvements we have already made since taking over the management of the hotel exemplify our dedication to immediately introducing Viceroy Hotels’ unique service standards to the Yas Viceroy,” said Heiner Werdeling, general manager of Yas Viceroy.
“Over the next 12 months our guests will see both cosmetic and service changes to Yas Viceroy designed to ensure that what is already an architectural icon of Abu Dhabi becomes a standard bearer for hospitality in the region.”
Yas Viceroy is considered one of the leading hotels in the Middle East
Away from the circuit, Emirates Palace will host Salon Privé – a spectacular Grand Prix launch event - on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th November.
Kicking off a thrilling weekend of world-class F1 racing, Emirates Palace’s pristine white shores will come alive as some of the most eminent and influential figures in the world come together for an evening of glamour and sophistication.
Watching the sunset, guests will mingle beneath the stars as famous Parisian DJ Stéphane Pompougnac takes to the decks.
A favourite of the fashion elite, models for Gucci and Yves Saint-Laurent have sashayed down the runway to the sounds of Pompougnac.
With such a celebrated DJ providing the soundtrack to the evening, Salon Privé is set to be one of the landmark events the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – an exclusive star-studded evening that sets the tone for the weekend ahead.
Emirates Palace general manager, Bugra Berberoglu commented: “Emirates Palace is the icon of Arabian hospitality in Abu Dhabi and we are providing a gorgeous setting at Salon Privé to usher in the weekend of events in style.
“Salon Privé is one of many upcoming events that we have planned at Emirates Palace, providing world-class entertainment for visitors and residents alike.”