When the sun goes down on Abu Dhabi’s Marina Circuit, the moon shines even brighter than the thousands of colorful lights of the Yas Viceroy Hotel that stands right in the middle of the action. A crowd formed of sponsors, singers and actors, F1 passionates, journalists and various VIP guests get their passes ready to access a classy circus of sports, social and business network and entertainment.
In the garage of each team you can meet not only the technicians that keep the game running behind the scenes, controlled by guys like Nicholas Todt and the principal of Ferrari Stefano Domenicali, but all sorts of guests: football players or star trainers, like A.C. Milan’s Flamini, Patrick Viera or Roberto Mancini, financial key people like the Santander’s President Emilio Botin or Mohamed Al Husseiny, CEO and Board Member of Aabar, and entrepreneurs, like Technogym’s owner Nerio Alessandri or Pepe Jeans’ Carlos Ortega.
During the whole period until the final journalists from all over the world, like BBC’s expert Eddie Jordan, record non stop and take interviews outside the garages and the padlock. The noise of the cars mixes with the music of the never ending parties on the boats that align along the race track, and expensive cars arrive in front of restaurants and hotels, like the Emirates Palace, filled with arabic charm and luxury.
Cipriani is definitely the place to be for dinner, where the owner Giuseppe does everything to keep all of his guests – like the Italian guru entrepreneur Mario Moretti Polegato or the Hollywood actor Adrian Brody – satisfied. Entertainment was at its peak as the guests enjoyed concerts from Britney Spears or Paul McCartney at the arena or took a closer look at the performances in the clubs, like that of Shaggy at the SkyBar or Sophie Ellis Bextor at the Monaco’s milestone club Amber Lounge.
The zenith of the long weekend is clearly the date of the race, or the moments of excitement and tension right before. If you walk on the race track right before the start you bump into virtually everyone, being broadcast live worldwide, from Bernie Ecclestone himself, to the king Juan Carlos of Spain, to each of the pilots like Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel.
A surreal experience – that didn’t end when Hamilton won, the show went on with pilots and guests dancing and celebrating all night long, up until they had to catch the next plane to the next chapter.