The United Arab Emirates has hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix since 2009, meaning that this weekend’s race at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit is the ninth edition of the race. The track, built on the man-made Yas Island, is surrounded by theme parks, golf courses and super-luxury hotels. It was designed by Hermann Tilke who can take the credit for several venues on the F1 calendar. There are 21 corners and five and a half kilometres for Pierre and Brendon to tackle, dealing with several changes of direction in between the straights and a lot of accelerating and braking. Given the demands of the track, our engineers will be veering towards a compromise in terms of car set-up, looking for good traction out of the corners, while running in high downforce configuration to deal with the slow corners. However, the car will need to be efficient to reach the high top speeds required down the straights. Before we can sign off on the season with a smile, there’s the small matter of 55 laps, for a total distance of 305.3 kilometres. Overtaking? Despite the fact it’s quite tricky at this circuit, we hope to see plenty of passing moves and the most likely places for dealing with the competition are at one of the three chicanes.
The race gets underway in daylight, but the chequered flag is waved under the glare of spotlights. The race starts at 17h00 local time, which means that track temperature actually drops over the course of the event. As for the weather, well it hardly ever rains in Abu Dhabi and this weekend, the average temperature should be around 25 Celsius. We will be using the Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft tyres on the STR12 and with Yas Marina’s smooth surface, wear and degradation will be less of a problem than usual.