The Yas Marina street circuit – which will play host to the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in just over three weeks' time, the final round on the 2009 F1 World Championship calendar – has passed its final FIA inspection, it has been confirmed.
The governing body's race director Charlie Whiting visited the track earlier this week, and whilst the finishing touches are still being put in-place, organisers are confident the work will all be completed in time for the race –which has convinced the FIA to give the event the green light.
“Everything is going well,” circuit CEO Richard Cregan is quoted as having said by Reuters
. “We've had a couple of handovers and that's the process we're in at the moment – as I call it, a 'shakedown' of the circuit. It's such a complex facility – so many buildings, so many elements to it in terms of how technical the circuit is – so we're going through it step-by-step.”
The 55-lap Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is scheduled to begin in daylight hours at 5pm local time and end around 6:30pm under floodlights as in Singapore, posing a unique challenge to both drivers and teams as it will mark the first time a race has started in the light and ended in the dark.
Former grand prix stars-turned-BBC
pundits Martin Brundle and David Coulthard – in company with F1 aspirant Bruno Senna, nephew of legendary triple world champion Ayrton – drove around the circuit in 300km/h two-seaters on Tuesday prior to giving it a unanimous thumbs-up. The first competitive action to take place there will be a GP2 Series test the weekend before the grand prix.
“The first big step for us will be the GP2 test, which will be great,” Cregan acknowledged. “Charlie came on Monday, and everything he had asked for previously was done. That was the final FIA green light, and he's also coming here for the GP2 test, which is a great help for us.
“We'll have a lot of the grand prix weekend marshals here on that weekend as well, so that will be a good test for the system, the people, car recovery – all of those things.”