Bernie Ecclestone was in typically effusive form as he described his impressions of the new Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, claiming that the entire $1bn development was the best to ever appear on the Formula One schedule.

The Middle East facility forms just one part of the massive Yas Island initiative - itself thought to have cost $40bn to pull together - and stages the F1 finale in its first season on the calendar, with the race due to finish under floodlights - and surrounded by the various illuminations of the resort - on Sunday evening local time. While the drivers were a little more reticent to pass judgement on the circuit, however, Ecclestone produced his usual 'best ever' quote to describe the newcomer.

"What they've done is unbelievable," the 79-year old, who is currently trying to find a solution to the British Grand Prix wrangle involving Silverstone and Donington Park, told Reuters.

"It was April 2006 that I sat with the crown prince and, at that time, we didn't start to discuss a race. However, during dinner, we came up with the idea that maybe we should have a race here, and it's magic what they've done. I never thought it would be finished like this - I thought bits and pieces would be done. I said I hope we're not going to be racing on a building site, but no-one is going to top this. I'll be happy if someone does the same."

Out-going world champion Lewis Hamilton called the facilities 'mind-blowing', while BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld confirmed that pre-race claims had been true.

"We heard so much about it before coming here," the German revealed, "All the people who had been here before said 'it's unbelievable, it's fantastic, it's huge', so you knew what to expect. It's definitely very well done but, most importantly for me, tomorrow I will see if the circuit is good or not."

Heidfeld's comments echoed those of some of his rivals, who all insisted that they wanted to try the circuit out for real before passing comment.

"I was impressed with the facilities and the place and the circuit [and], so far, it seems to be very well made with the surface and the kerbs," fellow veteran Jarno Trulli observed, "I think the run-off area, so far, seems pretty good but, obviously, before we judge the circuit layout, we need to have a run.

While several drivers have been attempting to learn the circuit on simulators - including Force India's Adrian Sutil, who described it as 'good to drive, but not overwhelming' - double world champion Fernando Alonso will be seeing it for the first time this weekend.

"No simulator for us - not even Playstation this time," the Renault ace revealed, "It will be the first lap tomorrow but, the same as all the others, I am very impressed with all the facilities.

"[In terms of] the circuit itself, and the layout, I think we need to wait until tomorrow as, in the car, you have always different feelings and different sensations, so I am looking forward. It will be an interesting weekend, especially with the late start for the race, with the lights."

The Spaniard insisted, however, that running into the evening would not be a problem, despite the drivers having complained about similar timings in both Australia and Malaysia at the start of the season.

"I don't think [temperatures dropping by ten degrees] will be a problem," he noted, "I think, in Australia, the temperatures were different. Here, the track temperature at the start of the race will maybe be 50 degrees, so it will never be cool enough to give you problems warming up the tyres."

"The only place where we were quite late this year with the sunset was in Australia," Sutil confirmed, "It was a little bit difficult in some corners, but not a problem for me and, temperature-wise, well, it's so hot here anyway, so we shouldn't have a problem. For sure, you have to readjust the temperatures, but it's about communicating with the engineers and just doing the right thing at the right time."

Instead of the temperatures, it is the change in light levels that is expected to cause the biggest headache for the drivers.

"In general, temperatures shouldn't be a problem, but the only question mark - which we will eventually find out about tomorrow - will be the shadows because of the sunset in this twilight race," Trulli opined, "We've got the experience of Australia and all the time schedule has been moved, so tomorrow we will get an idea."

"I don't think there will be any problems," Raikkonen concluded, "Of course, it might look a little bit different at some point when the sun disappears but the lights, at least in Singapore, were so good that you hardly see the difference between day and night. Here, it will be quite hot anyhow, so it should be okay."


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