Abu Dhabi F1 track – first video lap

A lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix track, which will host the final race of the F1 season this year, is shown for the first time in this on-board video.

The footage posted by James Allen shows Bruno Senna lapping the circuit in a two-seater racing car.

A couple of things strike you from watching the video:

First, the underground pit lane exit is narrow, but it looks like there’s enough room for one car to get past another if it becomes stuck.

But they’re going to spend along time on the pit lane speed limiter there, which will discourage drivers from strategies that involve lots of pit stops.

The opening sequence of bends (which were originally dubed a ‘reverse Eau Rouge’) don’t look anything like as quick and as challenging as we first thought.

At around 1’24 we get a good view of what the run-off area beneath the stadium looks like. This is an interesting innovation which will hopefully allow spectators to sit closer to the track without compromising safety.

It raises the question of what would happen if a car were airborne at the point where it goes off the track – presumably that risk has been assessed and deemed acceptable.

The entry to the left-right-left chicane at around 1’43 has a very flat kerb on the right which blends with an additional piece of track. We could see drivers getting into trouble for using too much of the entry kerb.

There’s not a lot of run-off area in the latter part of the lap, but that series of similar, sharp, short-radius corners is not very inspiring.

What do you think of the track and the video? Have your say in the comments.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Yas Island Marina Circuit - click to enlarge

Yas Island Marina Circuit - click to enlarge

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118 comments on Abu Dhabi F1 track – first video lap

  1. reminds me of china and Malaysia put together lol. Looks quite sweet.

    I bet the F1 drivers are annoyed that they cant test this year…i bet there watching the video and are like “bruno you ass i want to drive on the track”

  2. John Edwards said on 15th October 2009, 10:38

    Dull dull Dull.

    Another Tilke drome, bland, unexciting and lets face it no challenge to the drivers. Drivers with no talent could get a decent lap round here.

  3. I think a constant chorus of “Tilke sucks, Tilke sucks” can make us predisposed to dislike a new track. I really want to give it a chance to host a race before hating it.

  4. Bruno was only going 100% on the straights would you want him to risk the safety of the passenger?

    you can clearly see he breaks early around the corners come on people use your heads.

    It’s ok my favorite part would have to be the exit part of the pits, its like driving up to a motorway.

  5. Tiomkin said on 15th October 2009, 11:36

    I wish the track was a real gun, then I could use it shoot myself to quell the boredom. I just hope the this track yields a good and exciting race.

  6. sumedh said on 15th October 2009, 11:36

    I am not sure how Keith reached to the conclusion that he reverse Eau Rouge is very slow. I hope Bruno’s dreadful speed wasn’t a factor.

    OKAY track. We should see overtaking. But that would be mainly due to cars trying to do a long stint (since, 1-stop seems to be the way to go) on the softer tyres on a very very dusty track.

  7. Daffid said on 15th October 2009, 11:59

    ZZZZZZZZZZ – looks like it’ll be duller than Hungary usually is without the chance of rain, awful awful.

    They don’t make track or road cyclists turn twisty little corners again and again to see if they can stay on, so why on earth make F1 cars do it? (F1 cars doing a stage of the Tour de France, now that I would like to see, even if only on the Playstation… should be a fantasy option ;p)

    Seriously, I agree with Keith that pitlane makes 1 stop strategies a no brainer, and with no refueling next year, no-ones going to risk a stop for a fresh pair of boots and a late charge. A custom built track should aim to have the shortest pitlane not the longest.
    The question is if two cars touch and spin in that pitlane hitting the wall – would that be a red flag? If it was coming up to everyone’s pit window and people were short of fuel, it’d have to be wouldn’t it.

  8. HounslowBusGarage said on 15th October 2009, 12:28

    At least it isn’t all encased in concrete walls like Valencia, but it does look very pointy-squirty as others have said.
    There are six or seven gantries on the way round with open diagonal supports in them (one legged things that reach right across the track). Are these for signalling lights?

  9. Don’t like the look of it personally, I played around with it on rFactor (i know, it’s not the same thing) – doesn’t do anything for me though…
    Would have preferred to seen DC’s laps that he did last week in that two-seater.

    It would be interesting to see all the drivers going out on the track though, and once it’s rubber’d in to see what kind of speeds or variations of racing lines they take through some of the turns.

  10. CovertGiblets said on 15th October 2009, 13:27

    I am afraid I share the sentiments expresses by most. I fear it will provide us with a rather dull spectacle. The pit entrance and exit are interesting along with the runoff areas under the spectators.

    Keith… we are all guilty of complaining about the new circuit designs, myself included. How about a competition to come up with a design for a new circuit? Complete blank sheet of paper and let’s see if we could do any better!

    • Prometheus said on 15th October 2009, 21:34

      Problem is: a race track-planner doesn’t have a “complete blank sheet of paper”. The investor wants the track to go around the edges of a marina – the planner has to incorporate that. The investor wants a stadium section – the planner draws one up. The investor wants the track to pass under his shiny new hotel – the planner fulfills his desire. Easy to build an interesting track like this, isn’t it?

      If you want to see what Tilke can do, if you give him an interesting location and a free hand in planning a demanding circuit, look
      here …and for the gradient here

      • Prometheus makes an excellent point. Designers are very rarely given a blank sheet of paper.

        The plans for Blister-Berg look awesome! The longitudinal section shows heap of change in grade with some pretty steep sections, up to 10% longitudinal grade with tight vertical curves. It looks sweet!

  11. LewisC said on 15th October 2009, 13:41

    Have to say it’s not grabbing me. The pit exit looks really tight and it’ll be dusty (the dust will collect in it) so it’ll kill the heat in the tyres and be slippery… I predict at least one driver dropping it in there. Then the rejoin to the track is crested so they won’t be able to see anything coming…

    The straights are dull, the run-off area under the grandstand at the end of the long straight is a gimmick and as said above, most accidents happen on the exits of corners, not from people going straight on (Webber in S’pore, Massa in Hungary, Schumacher at Silverstone 99 being notable exceptions). Come to think of it… what is at the back of that run-off?

  12. I appreciate there’s been at least some effort to create gradient, the up- and downhill run after Turn one looks interesting to me. The lot of slower corners following in quick succession seem pretty technical.

    It will be a little different to see Formula 1 cars at actual racing speeds — a demonstration run with a two-seater (that looks a bit like a modified GP2 or something like that) on a dusty track doesn’t exactly match what speeds we’re likely going to see on the GP weekend.

  13. Wesley said on 15th October 2009, 14:29


  14. I am really really pessimistic. I’m pretty tired of seeing sharp 90 degree corners. What’s happened to the long constant radius corners? I want to see a Carousel, not a square.

    I’m also tired of seeing plain and boring 90left-90right chicanes because all they do is create space between cars and controversy for corner cutting.

    Oh lets make a track unique by creating a random underground pitlane, a hotel goes over the track, a run-off area going underneath a grandstand. Super(!)

    Oh well, lets see if the racing is any good, and if it is, well I’ll have been proved wrong.

  15. vettelfan said on 15th October 2009, 14:49

    It doesn’t look particularly exciting, but I am trying to reserve judgement until we see an F1 car go round there at full speed.
    The pit exit looks..er, interesting to say the least. Reckon that could through in some trouble.

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