Formula 1 crews have descended upon the UAE ahead of the weekend’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with transporters by the dozen bringing in essential crates containing cars, spare parts and components ready for the mechanics to work their magic on.
A fleet of 65 forklift trucks has been at work in Yas Marina Circuit’s pit lane since Tuesday, with constructor personnel on hand to help with the offloading against a background of high-tempo dance music.
The whole vista resembles a military exercise, often looking like a major container port in full flow, with similar precision routes being taken around the premises by forklift drivers so collisions are avoided.
The freight is coming in from both Abu Dhabi International Airport and Khalifa Port, with estimates suggesting total weights of hundreds of thousands of tonnes.
It isn’t just the teams who are preparing though – for weeks, Yas Marina Circuit personnel have been making sure everything is just right for the tens of thousands of motor sport fans en route to the final race of the 2022 F1 season, as well as those here for the F2 and F4 UAE events.
The circuit’s logistics team, for example, has been engaged in preparing 227 rooms fitted out with more than 3,000 pieces of furniture for the hundreds of incoming essential racing personnel, music artists and VIP guests.
The track, of course, is a major concern. Technicians and safety experts are engaged in the ongoing task of inspecting every inch of the circuit to ensure the utmost safety for drivers and spectators alike.
Dedicated maintenance specialists, painters, gardeners and technical experts have been at work across the circuit’s 5.8 kilometre track, grandstands and landscaped areas, with road diversions also being set up outside.
Predictions suggest the race itself will attract nearly 110 million views across the globe, so neatness has been of primary concern – cleaners equipped with high-pressure hoses have been tasked with leaving the circuit’s 228 canopies spotless, an undertaking that has been estimated to take 6,920 hours of non-stop work.
There are also 88.4 acres of landscaped areas at Yas, and gardeners have been bedding in more than 1,750 different kinds of foliage along with 886 varieties of palms and 529 potted plants.
Most of the team's drivers are expected to arrive at the venue on Thursday, where they will take up residence in a series of villas which are situated behind the pit lane and overlook Yas Marina.
The racing programme begins on Friday November 18 at 10.15am, with the F4 UAE practice session.
The first F1 contestants will take to the track at 2pm the same day, with the grand finale at 5pm on Sunday.