Abu Dhabi plan changes to boost excitement factor

Jon Wilde
Starting grid

Starting grid

Abu Dhabi F1 officials are taking steps to improve the entertainment value of this year’s finale by making modifications to the Yas Marina circuit.

Exciting racing is often scarce at the UAE venue and last season’s race was a prime example, when Max Verstappen coasted to an easy win for Red Bull.

Easier overtaking is the aim and changes to a number of corners will be made ahead of the 2021 staging of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 12.

Saif Al Noaimi, acting CEO Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, is quoted by Autosport as saying: “We’ve been looking at improving the racing on the track.

“We’ve been listening to our spectators, the fans, the drivers, F1 and the FIA and we’ve been working on making some changes, exciting changes, this year to the layout of the track.

“We will be undergoing some modifications to the track over the summer in time for this year’s edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”

Al Noaimi said details of the exact changes will be revealed to the public shortly, but the hope was that the new layout would increase overtaking opportunities.

“The objective ultimately is to create more opportunities for close wheel-to-wheel racing,” he added.

“We want to create more overtaking opportunities and to overall create a faster-flowing race track, given the current rules of the cars.

“So we are really looking forward to seeing some overtaking and action, and hopefully the championship will come down to the wire and be determined here.”

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A potential area to be modified is the hairpin section before the long back straight.

The chicane before the hairpin has a tendency to spread out the cars and make it difficult for battles to ensue either into or out of the hairpin.

Last year, Daniel Ricciardo expressed hope that the layout could be tweaked after the dull 2020 finale.

“I certainly don’t want to talk the place down because I want to keep coming back here – it’s amazing,” said the Australian.

“But maybe we could play around with the layout. I know there’s a few alternatives maybe around here because unfortunately on Sunday, it’s tricky.

“It’s sometimes a bit grim from an entertainment point of view.”

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