REVEALED: The track changes aimed at improving overtaking at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit
This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will take place on a new and improved layout, after the Yas Marina Circuit announced the track will be reconfigured in time for this year’s race – the season finale.
The circuit, which opened in 2009 and held the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the same year, will undergo significant alterations over the next few months, specifically in three areas: the north hairpin (Turn 7), the south marina (beginning at Turn 11), and the hotel section (beginning at Turn 17).
The redesign is intended to aid overtaking opportunities at the circuit where Mercedes won six times in a row between 2014 and 2019, before Max Verstappen took victory for Red Bull at last year’s race.
As you can see in the video below, the key changes are:
- Eliminating the chicane and widening the hairpin at Turn 7
- Removing the four sharp corners at Turns 11, 12, 13 and 14 to be replaced by one long banked turn
- Opening up the radius of four corners (Turns 17, 18, 19 and 20) to create a faster flowing section of the track.
The track operators say the widening of Turn 17 will improve overtaking opportunities, while the changes to Turn 20 will create a full-throttle corner, allowing cars to follow closer together. The tweaks at the hotel section are designed to allow for closer racing which in turn should lead to additional overtaking opportunities.
Saif Al Noaimi, Acting CEO, Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, said: “As a venue, we are continually identifying ways in which we can evolve, keep our product offerings fresh and retain the support of our loyal fanbase.
“This programme, which represents a hugely important chapter in the Yas Marina Circuit story, will involve work being carried out in three separate sections of the track, increasing the opportunity for drivers to overtake and amplifying the competitive nature of all motorsport events held at the venue.
“Work will take place over the summer, with completion expected well in advance of this year’s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and we look forward to showcasing our new-look track to motorsport fans both locally and internationally in the coming months.”
Ross Brawn, Managing Director, Motorsports at Formula 1 added: “As host of the Formula 1 season-finale since 2009, Yas Marina Circuit has established itself as one of the most popular venues for motorsport fans around the world to attend.
"We are fully supportive of the decision to make improvements to the track, with the aim of enhancing the overall motorsport experience across the board, including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for both competitors and spectators.
"Given its position as the final race in the Formula 1 season, it is always a special date on the calendar, and with this year’s event set to be the first on the new-look track and the last race before we enter the new era of F1 in 2022, there is added incentive to look forward to the spectacle.”