Circuit Name: Yas Marina Circuit
Lap Record: Sebastien Vettel (Red Bull) 1min 40.279secs - 2009
Where is the circuit?
The Yas Marina circuit is based on Yas Island, a man-made island near the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. It is part of a large business park that includes the Yas Island hotel, which spans over the circuit, and Ferrari World theme park.
What about the track stats?
The circuit is 3.45 miles (5.554km) long, and like the previous circuit at Interlagos is run in an anti-clockwise direction. Like other recent Tilke circuits, it has a high number of corners – 21 in total – with 12 left hand turns and 9 right hand turns. It also has a unique pit lane exit, which runs underneath Turn 1 and rejoins the track at Turn 3
What type of circuit is it?
Originally designed to be a part-permanent, part-temporary circuit, Yas Marina has become a permanent circuit which resembles a temporary circuit, with both grandstands and barrier close to the circuit. The Yas Marina hotel actually runs over the top of the circuit, similar to the Grand Hotel at the Monaco circuit.
What about its history?
Abu Dhabi only made it’s debut in F1 last season, and became F1’s first-ever day-night race, with the race beginning at 5pm local time with daylight, and finishing at night time under the lights. After leading the first part of the race, a brake failure caused Lewis Hamilton to retire from the race, giving Sebastien Vettel a clear run to the flag.
Which corners will challenge the drivers?
There is no particular corners that will challenge the drivers, but some that might catch them out. The first sequence of corners between Turn 2 and Turn 6 are very fast and flowing, and may catch some drivers out this year. The other part which could be tricky is the final two corners, which are similar to the old final corners at the A1 Ring and Catalunya.
What are the chances of a first corner incident?
More surprising than you would first think. Although it looks open and wide, the corner tends to tighten as the drivers go through it. It is tricky enough for one driver getting through, so getting 24 of them through at the same time could be very tricky.
And safety cars?
There were no safety cars last year, and despite the barriers being close to the circuit there is very little risk of a damaged car bouncing back onto the circuit. Unless there is a first corner incident or a stalled car on the grid I don’t expect to see it
Where are the overtaking spots?
There are realistically only two overtaking spots on the circuit, and with it being a Herman Tilke circuit you won’t be surprised to learn they are at the end of long straights. The first proper overtaking spot is at Turn 8, where Kamui Kobayashi overtook the newly-crowned world champion Jenson Button last season. It is the hardest braking point on the circuit, and any failed overtaking moves here could see the drivers in the run-off area that runs underneath a grandstand
The other overtaking spot is at the end of the following straight, but due to the chicane that preceeds it then it would take a brave driver to make a move into this corner. But it is possible.
What about tyre wear and brake wear?
Tyre wear shouldn’t be an issue here as there are not enough fast corners to trouble the drivers. Brake wear may be a different issue though. There are 5 heavy braking areas on the circuit, so the teams may run with slightly bigger brake ducts than normal. But don’t expect any brake failure for any driver
And pit stops?
After the majority of drivers made two stops in Brazil, expect the norm to kick in again this weekend and most drivers only making the one stop, with the top 10 drivers making a stop around lap 20, and those starting on the harder tyre making their stop near lap 35/36.
A lap of the circuit onboard with Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren