Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi GP: Race guide

We take an in-depth look at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi GP: Race guide
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Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi GP

 

Abu Dhabi joined the Formula One calendar in 2009, the race taking place on the breathtaking Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, a 2,500 hectare reclaimed island, which is being developed into the country's premier tourist attraction.

Penned by circuit design supremo Hermann Tilke, the Yas Marina Circuit is a spectacular venue but one which does not always produce great racing. Intended to be an Arabian version of Monaco, the latter part of the circuit winds past the specially-constructed harbour and underneath the Yas Marina Hotel, and holds the distinction of being Formula One's only day-to-night race, with sunset taking place during the race. Thousands of floodlights provide a consistent light level for the drivers during the transition.

Of course, this is the first race with double drivers and constructors points will be awarded at the final race of the Formula One season.

TRACK TECH

Yas Marina is a track of two halves. The first part is all about long straights punctuated by hairpins, and the end of the lap is slower with a high number of second and third-gear turns.

The track has a high fuel effect, meaning cars will travel faster later in the race once the high fuel load burns off. Because of the high number of slow/medium corners the impact on brakes is quite high, necessitating larger brake ducts and additional cooling vents throughout the car's bodywork.

LAST YEAR

Sebastian Vettel won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by a massive margin on 3rd November 2013 to chalk up a seventh successive victory and equal the longest winning streak in Formula One's modern era

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Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

The win was Vettel's seventh success in a row which tied the single-season tally racked up by fellow German Michael Schumacher in 2004 - a record Vettel went on to break courtesy of claiming the last two races of the season, held in the United States and Brazil.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Abu Dhabi joined the Formula One calendar in 2009, the race taking place on the breathtaking Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, a 2,500 hectare reclaimed island, which is being developed into the country's premier tourist attraction.

Penned by circuit design supremo Hermann Tilke, the Yas Marina Circuit is a spectacular venue but one which does not always produce great racing. Intended to be an Arabian version of Monaco, the latter part of the circuit winds past the specially-constructed harbour and underneath the Yas Marina Hotel, and holds the distinction of being Formula One's only day-to-night race, with sunset taking place during the race. Thousands of floodlights provide a consistent light level for the drivers during the transition.

Cars hit top speeds of 320kph (198mph) with an average of around 195kph (121mph). The track, which was rumoured to cost £640 million to construct, is unique in that its pit lane exits which run underneath the circuit.

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yahoo maps)

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yahoo maps)

Tyre wear: 6/10

Two stops were the order of the day in 2013 and likely to be the same this time around. Pirelli are bringing the soft (yellow) and supersoft (red) tyres to the Emirate.

Downforce: 8/10

Although Yas Marina boasts two long straights, the majority of the circuit is made up by low and medium speed corners so the downforce levels will be higher to ensure a higher cornering speed can be achieved.

Average speed: 6/10

The cars will exceed 190mph (306kph) on the back straight and get close on the run to Turn 11, but the winding nature of the last sector means the overall lap speed drops as a result.

Track difficulty: 3/10

Far from the hardest circuit on the calendar, Yas Marina has almost no elevation changes save for an uphill-downhill run over the crest of Turn 3. The third sector is the crucial one to master as the plethora of second and third-gear corners means that more time can be lost than gained here.

Overtaking: 4/10

The perennial problem at Yas Marina is overtaking, and pre-DRS it was virtually impossible. The 2010 event, where Fernando Alonso spent countless laps losing the world championship battle as Vitaly Petrov's Renault provide immovable in front, served as a catalyst for change with DRS being given the green light for introduction from 2011 onwards.

Spectacle: 6/10

Scores highly for the venue but racing fans tend not to look too fondly on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The setting on Yas Island, with the sun dipping below the horizon during the race, can make for some truly breathtaking photos, but often the on-track action fails to live up to its opulent surroundings.

KEY STATS

Venue Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

Length 5.554km

Laps55

Total distance: 305.355km (55 laps)

Lap record 1m 40.279s - Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (209)

2013 WinnerSebastian Vettel, Red Bull

Tyres: Soft (yellow), Supersoft (red)

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