The Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is believed to be the most expensive F1 track ever built, with a reputed construction cost in 2009 in excess of €800m ($1bn).
No expense was spared for the construction of the purpose-built facility on a man-made island. Its most distinctive feature is the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel which sits atop the track, and bridges it between turns 18 and 19. Another unique feature is the pit lane exits, which passes underneath the circuit by means of a tunnel.
The generally slow nature of the layout, despite two long straights, means it has been slow to win favour with drivers. However the top-class nature of its facilities, such as the luxury of air-conditioned garages, makes it popular with paddock inhabitants. And the unique spectacle of sun setting during the races makes for a picturesque venue.
Yas Marina track views
The first sector is generally medium speed with a couple of high speed corners and not too technically challenging; a reasonable level of downforce works fine here. The second sector is more power hungry with two good straights and two low speed corners – a low speed hairpin and a low speed chicane so it’s important to manage these well. The final sector is quite technical with a number of low and medium speed corners where the car needs to be well balanced and work well to achieve a good lap time.
Putting all that together is key – you need a car that works well in low speed corners and be good in the long straights.
Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
It’s not easy to get a good lap as the layout is very technical, especially in the final sector. It’s quite easy to come into a corner too hot and make a mistake, and finding a good flow is a big challenge.
I like the last sector in particular because that turns it into an exciting track. It’s twisty and you get right up close with the walls. You also have to contend with your tyres going off because the start of the lap is so fast – by the third sector you’re really having to manage your rubber. It’s… a challenge.
Yas Marina track data
|Lap length||5.554km (3.451 miles)|
|Race distance||305.355km (189.739 miles)|
|Pole position||Right-hand side of the track|
|Lap record*||1’40.279 (Sebastian Vettel, 2009)|
|Fastest lap||1’38.434 (Lewis Hamilton, 2011, qualifying two)|
|Maximum speed||339kph (210.645 mph)|
|DRS zone/s (race)||Two straights|
|Distance from grid to turn one||305m|
|Longest flat-out section||1233m|
|Gear changes per lap||56|
|Fuel use per lap||1.82kg|
|Time penalty per lap of fuel||0.04s|
|Tyres:||Drivers’ tyre selections|
*Fastest lap set during a Grand Prix
Data sources: FIA, Williams, Mercedes