Abu Dhabi hosts the 18th round of the 2012 Formula One World Championship with teams making the short trip from India to the Yas Marina Circuit. F1’s only day/night race has been a great success in its three previous runnings, with the organisers entertaining the crowd with a good selection of support races and other attractions. Inside the F1 paddock, the Yas Marina Circuit has developed a good reputation – both for its compact arrangement and convivial atmosphere but also with the quality of its garage and circuit facilities, which have been instrumental in it becoming a venue for the young drivers’ test which will take place in the days following the Grand Prix.
YMC has three very different sectors. High-speed turns dominate the start of the lap, down to the chicane and hairpin at Turn Seven. After that, the middle part of the lap has two very long straights separated by a heavy braking zone into a slow-speed chicane. The end of the lap around the harbour has been deliberately designed to mimic Monaco, and like that circuit is mostly slow speed and highly technical.
YMC demands a little bit of everything in terms of set-up. It has the second-longest straight in F1 so demands good top speed; it features heavy braking and a varied selection of cornering speeds requiring good traction and high downforce. It suggests a wider array of set-up options, though compared to the last three races it does not place such a premium on high-speed cornering ability.
Famously the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw Sebastian Vettel crowned after a tense season finale into which he went lying third in a championship, 15 points behind Fernando Alonso and seven behind Mark Webber. The finishing order in India last week ensured the Drivers’ Championship cannot be claimed at Yas this year – but Red Bull go into the race with a good chance of taking the Constructors’ Championship.
CIRCUIT DATA YAS MARINA CIRCUIT
Length of lap:
5.554km Lap record:
1:40.279 (Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2009) Start line/finish line offset:
0.115km Total number of race laps:
55 Total race distance:
305.355km Pitlane speed limits:
60km/h during practice and qualifying,
100km/h during the race
Changes to the circuit since 2011
► Higher kerbs, similar to those on the apex of turns eight and nine, have been installed on the apexes of turns five, six, 12, 13, 14, 18 and 19..