Fast cars, copious champagne, a passel of jet-setters: Formula 1
is sporting event as high life. Launched in 1950 as a worldwide version of the European grand prix of the 20s and 30s, F1 is now an industry that generates over $4 billion a year. Over the course of a season, from March to November, the touring spectacle docks in an array of exotic locales, with each circuit offering its own particular delights. The Singapore Grand Prix
is the competition’s only nighttime spectacular, snaking through the floodlit roads of the city; Monaco’s circuit challenges drivers to swerve through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo; and Hungary’s “shallow plate” lies in a valley boasting tighter turns than any other in F1. Yet the completion of the Yas Marina
circuit in Abu Dhabi, which last year held its first F1 grand prix, may take the prize. The track itself wins technical points (it's made of high-grip Greywacke aggregate), but the Yas Hotel
towering above trumps all. Designed by New York architects Asymptote
, the futuristic hotel is formed from two pod-like structures and covered in a glass grid-shell structure featuring 5,000 LEDs, enabling it to change dreamily from lilac to blue and back again. For the ultimate F1 experience, British American Motorsport
’s VIP Paddock Club offers comprehensive, extravagant services: exclusive hospitality boxes with unspoiled track views, a non-stop flow of bubbly, private helicopter transfers to the hard-to-reach circuits, and assistance with international flights and hotels. In other words, a truly glamorous joy ride.