Abu Dhabi may not make changes to track

2011 F1 season

Nick Heidfeld, Sauber, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Nick Heidfeld, Sauber, Abu Dhabi, 2010

The organisers of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will decide at the end of the month whether to make alterations to the track this year.

This would give them time to arrange and build the changes in time for this year’s race.

Richard Cregan, the chief executive of the Yas Marina circuit, told The National that the increased overtaking seen in F1 this year may influence the decision:

“We are looking at the effect the technical regulations have had on the racing this season and so far they have produced great results for the spectators, which is the most important thing.

“Definitely, the new regulations have made Formula 1 more exciting, but we will be watching the next couple of races keenly to see how they unfold before making a decision.”

The circuit had been considering changing its layout in order to make it suitable for motorcycle racing.

A spokesperson told F1 Fanatic: “If we decide not to go ahead with any changes, then that would put back any possibility of hosting Moto GP here, which we have been looking at for 2013.

“However, even without those changes, it might still be possible to hold motorcycle racing at club level, host the UAE Sportbike series, hold motorcycle track days and so on – but that would depend on FIM [International Motorcycling Federation] approval.”

Last year Populous, the architects who handled the track changes at Silverstone, demonstrated how the track might be altered to aid overtaking: How Yas Marina could be changed to aid overtaking.

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56 comments on Abu Dhabi may not make changes to track

  1. slr said on 19th May 2011, 12:35

    I’d prefer if they just took the track of the calendar. It’s boring to watch and it looks boring to drive (It is on F1 2010).

  2. Mark Hitchcock said on 19th May 2011, 12:38

    Don’t think I would want to race a bike round there. Those clever new barriers that mean we can have hardly any runoff for car racing wouldn’t be too comfortable to smash into on (or rather, while falling off) a motorbike!

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 19th May 2011, 12:41

    “We have a rubbish track, but hooray, the new rules means even rubbish tracks have good races! We don’t have to sink any more money into this! Party!”

    Edited for subtext.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th May 2011, 12:49

      That’s as may be, but circuit design is not a science. It’s an art, and a black one at that. The proposed changes could just as easily make the circuit worse than it already is, and there would be no way to tell until laps are driven in anger.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 19th May 2011, 13:11

        So let’s not change it because it might be even worse?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th May 2011, 13:13

          No, let’s not change it until we know it will be for the best.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 19th May 2011, 13:21

            But you just said there was no was no of knowing the impact until we change it. And that design isn’t a science, so we can’t even know theoretically beforehand.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th May 2011, 13:41

            But what we can do is research. It’s a misconception that all of the modern circuits are poor. There are plenty of newer circuits that have excellent designs – Albert park, Sepang, Istanbul, the new Silverstone and South Korea, plus Austin, India and Sochi all look good – compared to those that are poor. So if the FIA can commission a working group to find out how to improve overtaking, surely they can commission one on circuit design.

          • Movement (@movement) said on 19th May 2011, 16:16

            In response to your second comment here: I hate to be a pedant (well thats not entirely ture) but you have just made an implication that contradicts your earlier statement. The idea that the FIA could create a group to look into track design to affect overtaking entirely contradicts your earlier statement that it is not scientific: (or that its an art) because surely if that was the case, there would be no purpose in creating the said working group?!

      • Movement (@movement) said on 19th May 2011, 16:13

        A black art?

        very poetic and all that, well done, but do please explain exactly what you mean by that? I could be wrong but it comes across as unnecessarily pretentious…

        and circuit design can easily have the scientific method applied to it. On these circuits, slow corners followed by straights followed by slow corners mean x happens or does not. therefore it is fair to believe that here something similar might happen in other locations. test the assumption. it works or not.

        It is not an art. That is your preceptions of it: circuit designers know how fast current F1 cars go around the corners/tracks. Therefore they can fairly accurately predict how changes would influence racing. not 100% accurately, but pretty accurately. your idea that there is ‘no way to know until laps are driven in anger’ is really entirely wrong. Why do teams use simulators to practice race set-ups and for drivers to practice the circuits? Because computer power is such that nowadays you can input thousands of pieces of information and reasonably accurately translate that into reality. So track designers could easily compute possible effects of track layout changes and work out if they would Work or not. Sure it may not be perfect, but they would not be miles and miles off.

        Yas Marina are essentially hoping to save money, that is very clear. Why change it, which could cost a huge investment, when there may be no need.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th May 2011, 19:56

          Yeah, I think Populous showed that its possible to go at it sensibly and logically to make a circuit that is good with the Silverstone redesign.

          So Please Abu Dhabi, just make those changes, they will improve the track. Do not count on DRS and the tyres helping you out.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th May 2011, 7:58

          A black art?

          very poetic and all that, well done, but do please explain exactly what you mean by that? I could be wrong but it comes across as unnecessarily pretentious…

          Okay, but first of all, we have to distinguish between “art and science”. I have a point – I promise. When we say something is an art and not a science, it generally means that it cannot be quantified. It’s measured by qualitative (labels like “good” or “bad”) rather than quantitative (numbers). Qualitative means of gathering data are usually much more representative of something than quantitative, but they’re also much harder to process from data into information. Nevertheless, it can still be done. For example, the GDP is a measure of the average amount of income earned per head of capita designed to assess quality of life. The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, on the other hand, uses what it calls “gross national happiness” to determine its quality of life. It’s an emotional, rather than an economic, barometer.

          However, when we say something is a “black art”, it means it’s even harder to assess than a plain vanilla art. It still uses qualitative measures, but we don’t really know what we’re looking for, and so we don’t know what questions to ask to get the answers that we’re looking for. Sure, we want to know what makes overtaking better, but that is such a broad question that any data we get would be incredibly difficult to process.

          • Henry said on 20th May 2011, 11:02

            Ok. Well I am not sure where you get the idea of ‘black’ vs ‘vanilla’ art from, suffice it to say that I am not convinced by that! (But I always maintain that if you can define a term you are using, then you are entirely permitted to use it, so I will leave it ;) )

            However frivolities aside, I think I fundamentally disagree with the idea that circuit design is an art as opposed to a science. As I argued above, I am pretty sure it is a science. Science does not always come down to purely statistically quantifiable data, its more important to be able to prove a theory, or a solution, through experimentation – whether that is done by using statistics or other measurements, thats fine. However: I think it is possible to predict fairly accurately what happens when you change a circuit, in terms of how that effects the racing. We disagree, we’re not going to budge, fine!

            p.s. I also would make the point that GDP is never really a measure of quality of life; it is purely a measure of economic output and many current economists argue that it is an outdated, inaccurate of that anyway. GDP per head cannot be taken to measure anything but average economic output – I personally think it is impossible to even come close to measure quality of life either statistically or otherwise.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 19th May 2011, 13:31

      That’s precisely what I thought they meant.

  4. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 19th May 2011, 12:46

    well at least that’s an awesome picture!

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 19th May 2011, 12:53

      Yeah, the Pictures look really good.

      Man, the track should really be changed, a good track is a good track, regardless of the rules.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th May 2011, 12:58

        That … doesn’t really make sense. Because good circuits comply to the same rules that the bad ones do.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 19th May 2011, 13:07

          When the tracks supposedly built to complement the current formula are worse than the ones that have been around for decades, you know there’s a problem.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th May 2011, 13:14

            And we’ve been over this before. The problem is that Tilke is being commissioned to build circuits by people who are more interested in promoting their country than actual racing.

          • Hamish said on 19th May 2011, 13:24

            Comment of the day right there.

          • Hamish said on 19th May 2011, 13:26

            Icthyes that is, not the other guy.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 19th May 2011, 13:30

            I’m sorry but that has zero to do with such an awful configuration. You mean because he couldn’t pick the land out himself? That’s no excuse for having slow corners bookending fast straights and saying it’ll improve the racing.

          • Mark Hitchcock said on 19th May 2011, 13:30

            @PM, Says the man who wants to go back to one of those circuits under terrible circumstances.
            If you really think that’s the problem, why would you want to grant Bahrain the opportunity for that promotion and cement the problem in place?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 19th May 2011, 13:36

            If you really think that’s the problem, why would you want to grant Bahrain the opportunity for that promotion and cement the problem in place?

            Because I believe that, in order to be a true World Championship, Formula 1 needs to visit every major geopolitical region on earth. That includes the Middle East, and of the two circuits there, Bahrain is the better of the two.

          • Movement (@movement) said on 19th May 2011, 16:24

            I believe that, in order to be a true World Championship, Formula 1 needs to visit every major geopolitical region on earth.

            I would love to understand your definition of geo-political. Or ‘the Middle East’ for that matter. Because the idea that ‘the middle east’ is a single, homogenous, geo-political region is an absolute joke. The idea that Formula 1 could visit every different geo-political region is, to be frank, ridiculous, as there are more of these regions in the world than there are weekends in the year. You would never be able to satisfy them, and how you would even attempt to define them I dont know.

            Personally I agree with the point Joe Saward has made on his blog a number of times: it should be time-zones. Time zones mean that people can watch more easily on their TV sets or internet, and if the venues are spread around the time zones a greater number of people could theoretically get to the venues.

            However none of this deals with the fact that some regions have little or no interest in motorsport, or F1. The idea that every part of the world would want, let alone require, a Grand Prix is again a rather fanciful concept. Many would probably rather not have one.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th May 2011, 8:05

            I would love to understand your definition of geo-political. Or ‘the Middle East’ for that matter. Because the idea that ‘the middle east’ is a single, homogenous, geo-political region is an absolute joke. The idea that Formula 1 could visit every different geo-political region is, to be frank, ridiculous, as there are more of these regions in the world than there are weekends in the year. You would never be able to satisfy them, and how you would even attempt to define them I dont know.

            Open an atlas. You’ll see the world is divided up into regions. I think there should be at least one race in each region. Something like this:

            Western Europe
            Eastern Europe
            Scandinavia
            Russia
            Asia (China, Japan, Korea, etc.)
            South-East Asia
            Central Asia
            Indian Subcontinent
            Middle East
            Australia
            Nothern Africa
            South Africa
            North America
            Central America
            South America

            Some of these (ie Central America, Northern Africa, Central Asia) are less important than others (Western Europe, North America, Asia). But generally, there should be at least one race per continent, plus one in Russia, Scandinavia, the Middle East and India.

          • Henry said on 20th May 2011, 10:51

            @ PM

            I think you completely misunderstood my point. Which was that you cannot divide the world along the idea of geo-political zones. Geo-political being a very different idea to simply geographical zones, which is what you imply in your reply. I still maintain that you would have to think very carefully about how you decide which country fits into which region, and also why the F1 calendar must visit all these places. Because by suggesting that F1 should visit as much of the world as possible, you assume that most of the world would want, or be able to afford, to host an F1 race. The other, and I believe more important side to that question, is whether it would be good for the sport.

            Why bother turning up in a part of the world where there are no fans who want to watch the race, no local interest? Think carefully about that. Two arguments are always put forward for this: one being its important to sponsors to visit all regions of the world to get the most coverage for their products in important emerging markets. Fine, personally I think the sport is excessively ruled by sponsors as it is, and that really as a sport it should go where the fans are. If a race has to be heavily subsidised by a government because there are no people buying tickets, why is the sport there? Because the logical extension of that is that the local population wont be watching on TV either. The other argument put forward is that F1 claims to be a global championship, so it has to go around the globe.

            Again, there are many ways you can interpret ‘global’ in that sense: personally I think F1 should cover all the major motorsport hubs in the world; covering geographic area does not make it a global sport if you end up ignoring the fans in major regions. If it manages to cover the world of motorsport, then that would be sufficient.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 19th May 2011, 13:42

      I’ve always been a fan of the night. Not in a dark, moody teenager way, but from an atmospheric, aesthetic point of view. I love bright lights and reflections and that kind of thing. I remember when I was younger and really in love with F1, I always used to dream about what the sport would look like at night time.

      When Singapore was announced as being the inaugural night race, I couldn’t wait for it. I remember watching the ITV stream of the First Practice in Singapore in 2008 and having a ‘is this real life’ moment. It was like a dream come true. I love everything about the Singapore GP now, it’s easily one of my absolute favourite events and is the greatest addition to the calendar I’ve seen since I was old enough to remember.

      I like that Abu Dhabi is at night as well, if anything because it gives it something that separates it from the other Middle Eastern Tilkedromes. I think the transition from day to night is another nice gimmick, although I still prefer Interlagos as a Finale venue. Looking at that picture, it reminds me that while I’m primarily an F1 fan for the sport, it’s the many different factors like the genuine artistic beauty of these incredible machines racing through a super-modern facility under the cover of darkness and the eyes of the world upon them.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 19th May 2011, 13:44

      That’s because the place is wonderful, but F1 is action.

  5. HounslowBusGarage said on 19th May 2011, 13:04

    I wonder hopw much they would have to move the hairpin back by in order to get rid of the stupid chicane? Ten metres, twenty?
    How much would that reduce the price of the seats right at the apex of the current corner? Probably not very much, but as the major beneficiary would be the TV audience and since Yas Marina don’t seem to get any income from the TV rights, it probably won’t happen. Instead we’ll have slightly daft situation where someone forgot to allow enough run-off space when planning the position of the grandstand.

    • GeeMac said on 19th May 2011, 14:48

      The trouble with moving the stand back is that there is an access road and Ferrari World literally right behidn that grandstand…so even if they did demolish the stand there wouldnt be enough room.

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 19th May 2011, 16:45

        Yes, I know about the stuff behind the stand. I’m suggesting moving the track back from the stand so that there is sufficient run-off between the track and the stand. How far would the track have to be moved or shortened, ten, twenty or even thirty metres? Might still be better than having the Mickey Mouse chicane.

  6. Bebilou said on 19th May 2011, 13:20

    This is the worse track on the calendar, so it could not be a bad thing to do the changes.
    I fully agree with HounslowBusGarage.

    On this track, they thought about everything… except racing…

  7. GeeMac said on 19th May 2011, 13:36

    The headline for this story in the Gulf News today read “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”…trouble is, it IS broke!

    • LOL. Agreed.

      A blank sheet of paper, pretty unlimited budget and a completely boring racertrack.

      Time for more circuit designers in F1. Even if for variation only. I don’t want another copied corner from malaysia, or from another circuit. I’d like some original tracks again.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 19th May 2011, 19:59

      Exactly.

  8. zomtec said on 19th May 2011, 13:45

    They had a good idea with the run off under the grandstand, I don´t understand why they didn´t use this idea in the first hairpin to delete the stupid chicane.

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 19th May 2011, 13:49

    I don’t mind Yas Marina. The middle sector is alright.

  10. cbriddon (@cbriddon) said on 19th May 2011, 13:51

    Oh good, don’t change the track, let everyone pass using DRS. Yawn!!!

    DRS isn’t overtaking. It’s passing.

    This circuit needs changes, although it was VERY funny to see how annoyed it made Alonso last year. :-)

  11. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 19th May 2011, 13:58

    I would make the fake Eau Rouge bit tighter, so the cars have to lift off a bit, like the original Eau Rouge, and switch the chicane over the other way, so the haipin is opened out a bit more. I would then change the straight, and re-align the chicane at the end of the support pits. Finally, I would make the final 2 corners sweep together to make a mini Parabollica………….

    http://i1020.photobucket.com/albums/af321/samfuzzy19/yasredesign.png

  12. ads said on 19th May 2011, 14:21

    The simplest short term solution i can see is to use the mini-s already in place immediately after turns 2 and 3. This would make those turns even more challenging, but would slow the cars down enough for them to bypass the chicane and go straight into the hairpin. It would create a sort of scaled down version of becketts with one quick s followed immediately by a slower one. I think it would remove the need for the chicane which is blamed for the lack of overtaking on the main straight, without being mickey-mouse.

  13. Atticus said on 19th May 2011, 14:36

    I really like how Populous approaches track building.

    Although they did removed the ‘experience’ of the more or less original shape of Silverstone, at least they did it professionally and emphasis was on creating spectacular overtaking and viewer opportunities.

    What they planned to do with Yas Marina was of the same philosophy: they inserted some free-flowing fast, sweeping corners into a kind of stop-and-go circuit which makes finding the right setup harder as those fast corners – especially the first few – are important from the overtaking point of view.

  14. Eggry (@eggry) said on 19th May 2011, 14:58

    Oh guys!! You have money, Why don’t you use it for enhancing entertainment!

  15. P5ycH0 said on 19th May 2011, 16:56

    “We are looking at the effect the technical regulations have had on the racing this season and so far they have produced great results for the spectators, which is the most important thing.”

    What great results for spectators? The track is turned into a one lane track after 15 laps due to the marbels. The DRS is a gimmick (imo they could replace that with throwing dices) and the tirewear & resulting pit stops are just plain rediculous.
    Racing imo should be about skills. It should not be about some witchdoctor writing up rules to make the sport ‘fakalicous’.

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