FIA preview the Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina
9 November, 2011
Nov.9 (FIA) For the penultimate race of the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship, round 18, the series makes its first visit of the year to the Middle East and Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art Yas Marina circuit.
Although only in its third season, the circuit has already seen a world title showdown, for it was here, last year, that Sebastian Vettel was crowned World Champion for the first time, launching himself into a season of further success that brought a second consecutive title at this year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
The battle for runner-up-spot in the drivers’ championship remains open, however, as Jenson Button (240 points), Fernando Alonso (227 points), Mark Webber (221 points) and Lewis Hamilton (202 points) are all capable of finishing second, with a maximum of 50 points available to each of them.
This year’s race will be the only ‘twilight’ grand prix of 2011, with a 1700 start time that results in a race starting in daylight, but finishing in darkness, the circuit being illuminated by the world’s largest permanent sports facility lighting system, against the dramatic rainbow-effect backdrop of the Yas Hotel.
From race Director Charlie Whiting:
“The race came in for a bit of criticism last year because the cars found it very difficult to overtake. But there are two DRS zones this year, with two activation points, and they should make a significant difference in that respect.
Everybody loves coming here to race: the facilities are absolutely first class – everything’s top-notch and the timing of the event gives a nice mix between a night race and a day race. The marshalling has been excellent, too, and race control works very well. It’s a thoroughly pleasant working experience. There haven’t been any changes to the circuit apart from some very minor kerbing adjustments.”
Abu Dhabi GP Fast Facts
• Pirelli’s tyre compounds this weekend are prime: medium (white) and option: soft (yellow). The track’s new and smooth surface results in a lower-than-average rate of degradation, while a unique facet of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are track and ambient temperatures that decrease throughout the duration of the race, owing to the early-evening sunset. As a result Pirelli engineers predict early-stopping drivers may be able to run longer than expected stints on a given set of tyres.
• The Yas Marina circuit was where Pirelli officially returned to Formula One in the modern era. After last year’s season-ending grand prix, teams were able to run on Pirelli tyres for the first time, following Bridgestone’s withdrawal as the sport’s sole tyre supplier. Yas Marina is also the circuit at which Pirelli has completed the most testing miles, having tested here privately using an ex-Toyota Formula One car driven by Pedro De La Rosa.
• The main straight at the Yas Marina Circuit is the second longest in Formula One, at 1140m – some 30m shorter than the main straight at Shanghai International Circuit (1170m), but ahead of Italy’s Monza (1120m), India’s Buddh International Circuit (1060m) and the Korea International Circuit (1050m).
• Yas Marina is one of five Formula One tracks to run anti-clockwise, the others being: Turkey’s Istanbul Park; Singapore’s Marina Bay, the Korea International Circuit and Brazil’s Interlagos.
• Red Bull Racing achieved a new record by taking a 16th pole position in a season, at the Indian Grand Prix. The previous best of 15 has been achieved by McLaren (1988-89) and Williams (1992-3).
• The 24 points scored by McLaren at the Indian GP secured it second place in the 2011 constructors’ championship, behind Red Bull Racing, with 442 points to date. McLaren has not won the constructors’ title since 1998, despite having finished in runner-up spot in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2010, and in third place in 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2009. Only once since 1998 has McLaren failed to win a grand prix in a season: 2006.
• The Ferrari World theme park situated alongside the Yas Marina circuit, claims to be the world’s largest indoor amusement park, on account of its 200,000-metre-squared roof. Among its attractions are the Formula Rossa rollercoaster, which has a claimed top speed of 240km/h. Funded by Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties and designed by Benoy architects, Ferrari World was opened on November 4 2010. The Ferrari logo on its roof is the world’s largest at 65m by 48.5m.
• The 499-room Yas Viceroy Hotel is the first hotel ever built over a new Formula One circuit. It is lit by 5389 pivoting LED panes, capable of changing their colour.
Race Stewards Biographies
• Derek Warwick makes his fourth appearance as an FIA driver steward at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having previously fulfilled this role at the Spanish and Hungarian Grands Prix last year and at this year’s Turkish GP. Warwick, 57, who lives in the Channel Islands, raced in 146 grands prix, from 1981 to 1993, for Toleman, Renault, Brabham, Arrows and Lotus. He scored 71 points and achieved four podium finishes, with two fastest laps. He was World Sportscar Champion in 1992, driving for Peugeot, winning Le Mans in the same year. Warwick also raced Jaguar sportscars in 1986 and 1991. Following his international racing career, Warwick competed in the British Touring Car Championship in 1995, 1997 and 1998, as well as making one more appearance at the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1996, driving for the Courage Competition team.
• Italian-born Vincenzo Spano grew up in Venezuela, where he went on to study at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, becoming an attorney-at-law. Spano has wide-ranging experience in motor
sport, from national to international level. He has worked for the
Touring y Automóvil Club de Venezuela since 1991, and served as President of the Sporting Commission since 2001. He was president for two terms and now sits as member of the Board
of the Nacam-FIA zone. Since 1995 Spano has been a licenced steward and obtained his FIA steward superlicence in 2003.Spano has been involved with the FIA and FIA Institute in various roles since 2001: a member of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA Committee, and the executive committee of the FIA Institute.
• Paul Gutjahr started racing in the late 1960s with Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Lotus and Porsche, then March in Formula 3. In the early ’70s he became President of the Automobile Club Berne and organised numerous events.He acted as President of the organising committee of the Swiss GP at Dijon from 1980-82.
From 1980-2005 he acted as President of the Commission Sportive Nationale de l’Automobile Club de Suisse and in 2005 he became President and board member of the Auto Sport Suisse motor sports club. Gutjahr is President of the Alliance of European Hill Climb Organisers and has been steward at various high-level international competitions. He was the Formula 3000 Sporting Commissioner and has been a Formula One steward since 1995.