As we all know, Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a bad circuit is near-legendary. But as I watching a video of a flying lap the other day, I couldn’t help but notice that there were a few corners, taken on their own, are actually quite nice. The obvious example is turns two, three and four over the rise. It was originally pitched as a “reverse Eau Rouge”, going over a hill instead of through a gully, and while it’s not nearly as challenging, I still find it mesmerising to watch the drivers get as close to the outer limits of the circuit as they dare. On more than one occasion, I’ve been convinced that a driver has gone too far and won’t be able to get back on the racing line, only to watch them do exactly that.
Intrigued by this concept, I scoured the internet (or at least YouTube and Wikipedia) looking for examples of good corners at bad circuits. And this is what I found – Ayrton Senna’s qualifying lap from the 1991 United States Grand Prix at Phoenix:
On paper, it doesn’t look like much; a typical street circuit made up of endless second-gear ninety-degree bends. But skip ahead to 0:49 in that video for two turns that look utterly fantastic – a flat-out right and a flat-out left that feed into the long back sraight. Moreover, the left-hander has a blind apex, and the run-off area goes to the right. For a moment there, it looks as if the circuit goes to the right rather than to the left, and with the walls so close by, it would be a hair-raising experience.
So, what other good corners can be found on otherwise-horrid circuits?