The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix trophy has changed in design numerous times since Formula 1 first came to Yas Marina circuit in 2009.
In this article I’ll take a look back at the different trophy designs over the years and how they’ve led to what is now one of the best looking trophies on the F1 calendar.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix trophy has been designed and manufactured by Fox Silver, a British based silversmiths.
Fox Silver make the trophies for a number of other Formula 1 races plus they manufacture the prestigious Formula One World Championship Drivers’ and Constructors’ trophies.
Fox Silver has been manufacturing the Abu Dhabi GP trophy ever since the inaugural race in 2009. The design of the trophy has changed a few times over those years.
Who presents the trophies?
As per the FIA technical documentation, “Dignitaries will present the trophies on the podium as arranged by the Master of Ceremonies.”
This is usually members of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, chairmen of the Abu Dhabi sports council or executive members of the title sponsor Etihad Airways.
Abu Dhabi F1 Trophy 2009 - 2016
The initial design for the Abu Dhabi F1 trophy was used, pretty much unchanged, for 8 years. It was first seen at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and used for the last time at the 2016 race at Yas Marina circuit.
The trophy was designed to represent the three sails of a dhow, a long, thin-hulled yacht traditionally used to trade goods in the Arabian Gulf.
The trophy was made from silver and new versions were manufactured each year. Every time a new Grand Prix came around the new trophies would have the plaque on their base changed and inscribed with that’s years date and title sponsor.
Sebastian Vettel, driving for Red Bull, was the winner of the first ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and was the first driver to lift the winner’s trophy.
Abu Dhabi F1 Trophy 2017 - 2018
In 2017 the design of the trophy changed dramatically. This time the outline of the Abu Dhabi F1 track layout was used as the shape on top of the trophy, with the UAE flag set on top of it.
The large curved, silver, supporting part of the trophy took the outline of the same shape.
Valtteri Bottas won the race at Yas Marina circuit in 2017 and was the first to lift the new winner’s trophy.
The odd-one-out in the image below was the trophy for the winning constructor.
Abu Dhabi F1 Trophy 2019 - Present
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has always had Etihad Airways as its title sponsor. In 2019 they were joined by Adnoc (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) as a lead sponsor, who wanted to freshen up the design of the trophy.
To bring the trophy back to represent the United Arab Emirates they wanted to incorporate the UAE’s national bird, the saqr falcon.
Given just an idea and left to run with the design, Fox Silver came up with what is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Formula 1 trophy designs I’ve ever seen.
Speed, force, beauty and courage are some of the characteristics the saqr portrays. The trophy design does an amazing job of embodying those.
There’s no denying that some inspiration would have been taken from the current Singapore GP trophy design shown in the image below. That was first used in 2014 and also embodies a bird, in this case the one from the Singapore Airlines logo.
Singapore GP Trophy
But I think the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix trophy is stunning, even more so than Singapore’s, and it manages to be classic and contemporary at the same time.
The Abu Dhabu Grand Prix will be returning to Yas Marina for the season finale at the end of the year.
Check out the full Abu Dhabi F1 schedule to see race timings and when this year’s trophy will be lifted by the winner.