Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Formula One preview
Today’s report from Formula One teams & drivers at Yas Marina Circuit.
Red Bull Racing
The Indian Paddock experience…
When you think of Abu Dhabi what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Racing in the twilight and finishing at night with a spectacular backdrop; it’s a unique event in that sense. Does the race take on a different feel once the sun goes down and it gets dark? In what way does it change?
Well the track temperature is dropping during the race which is an interesting point for us, performance-wise, with the tyres. Also we’ll have a different visor tear-off for the first part of the race, for the first 10 or 15 laps we’ll have a dark tear-off because of the low sun in the last sector, and then when the sun has gone behind the grandstand we can get rid of that tear off and run a clear one for the rest of the race.
There have been some special moments for you in the last few days, but looking to Abu Dhabi; what are your memories from there? The race in Abu Dhabi is one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Starting at dusk and finishing in the dark makes it pretty impressive. I have special memories of the Abu Dhabi GP after winning the first race here in 2009 and then repeating the victory in 2010 to win my first World Championship, that was an event I will never forget.
What is Yas Marina circuit like to drive?
The circuit is impressive: 5.5km, 55 laps counter clockwise with large run-off areas and a pit lane that leads through a tunnel to the other side of the straight. A few key points of the track for me are; Turn 1 because it is very difficult to see and is very fast.The last corners, (turns 20 and 21) must be regarded as one, because you have to exit perfectly from the first to catch the last corner correctly. The trick here is to get on the throttle as early as possible in order to build up enough speed for the subsequent straight.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix preview
Yas Marina Circuit facts & stats
The United Arab Emirates welcomes Formula 1 for the fifth consecutive year at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The 5.5km track is situated on a man-made island on the eastern side of Abu Dhabi, and it’s one of only five anti-clockwise circuits on this year’s calendar.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is unique in that it’s the only twilight race of the year. It starts in daylight at 5:00pm (local), but darkness falls as the race approaches half-distance and the circuit is lit thereafter by the largest permanent lighting system in the world. Other stand-out features at Yas Marina Circuit include the pitlane, which exits through a tunnel under Turn One, and the paddock’s air-conditioned pit garages.
As is often the case with Hermann Tilke-designed racetracks, the circuit has three distinct sectors. Fast corners dominate sector one; two long straights, along which the track’s two DRS zones are located, populate sector two, and some tortuous Monaco-style twists end the lap. Average cornering speeds are on the low side, but the track is still an interesting technical challenge because the cars don’t run with maximum downforce.
The asphalt is very smooth, which makes it kind on tyres, and wear rates are further reduced by the cooler track temperatures experienced after sunset. There is usually a lot of track evolution during the race, which will help Jenson Button and Sergio [Checo] Perez preserve the Soft and Medium compounds – the same as in India last weekend – that Pirelli are taking to the race.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2011 (see below) and our current drivers have good records at Yas Marina Circuit. Jenson has finished on the podium three times and Checo won the GP2 feature race in 2010.
Race distance 55 laps (189.747 miles/305.355km)
Start time 17:00 (local)/13:00 (GMT)
Circuit length 3.451 miles/5.554km
2012 winner Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus E20) 55 laps in 1hr45:58.667s (172.879km/h)
2012 pole Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 1m40.630s (198.692km/h)
Lap record Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB5) 1m40.279s (199.387km/h)
McLaren at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Wins 1 (2011)
Poles 2 (2009, 2012)
Fastest laps 1 (2010)
Car 5: Jenson Button
- Age 33 (January 19 1980)
- GPs 244
- Wins 15
- Poles 8
- FLs 8
“I think the whole team ought to feel encouraged by our pace in India last weekend. Although the race didn’t come together for me, our overall speed and consistency were the strongest they’ve been all season, and, as always, the race team delivered on all fronts to ensure that, strategically and logistically, we lost nothing to our rivals.
“We’ll certainly be taking that momentum into Abu Dhabi this weekend. While it’s a very different type of track – the final sector is much more stop-start and reliant on a strong mechanical balance – I’ve always enjoyed racing around the Yas Marina circuit and I think we can once again score points to consolidate our position in the constructors’ world championship.
“Now that the drivers’ world championship has been conclusively settled, I think the Formula 1 community will enjoy these last three races. While we’ll be competing with one another as fiercely as ever, we’ll also be treating our last three outings as opportunities to develop and understand the package we’ll take into the 2014 season.
“For me, that’s exciting: I’ll be looking forward to providing my input to ensure we end the year in as strong a position as possible, so as to be as well prepared for the new challenges of 2014 as we can be.”
Car 6: Sergio Perez
- Age 23 (January 26 1990)
- GPs 53
- Wins 0
- Poles 0
- FLs 2
“I think that the Indian Grand Prix was my strongest performance of the season so far, and a good example of what I feel I’m capable of when I have a solid car beneath me, and the opportunity to push and press my opponents. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.
“You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ll be aiming to carry that momentum over into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Yas Marina circuit is one of the most impressive and sophisticated racetracks in the world – the first two sectors, which are a series of high-speed sweeps and hard stops, are great fun to drive, while the final sector is a little trickier, because although it’s much slower it requires great precision. Getting the set-up right around here is always a compromise, also.
“After several races of poor luck, it was great to reverse that trend in India. Now, of course, I’ll be looking for another strong finish to carry me into my ‘home’ race in Austin, Texas, next month. I would love to be able to give my ‘home’ fans something extra to cheer about!”
Martin Whitmarsh Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“With three races remaining, and with the drivers’ world championship now settled, it’s only natural that Formula 1’s collective focus should start turning towards 2014. However, there are three fantastic grands prix remaining this year, and, buoyed by a respectable result in India last weekend, we’ll be looking to ensure that we continue to maximise our performance at each of those last three rounds.
“In Jenson and Checo, we have two excellent team-spirited drivers who have motivated the entire workforce with their never-say-die attitude to this difficult season. Despite their contrasting fortunes in India last week, both guys showed the attitude and determination to fight hard from the race’s start to its finish. They have been an inspiration, often in adverse circumstances, and, in turn, the whole team is working hard to provide them with the machinery with which they can keep pushing until the very last lap of the very last race.
“I think everyone in Formula 1 enjoys the fantastic facilities on Yas Island, and the thrill and spectacle of a dusk race make this weekend a truly special event on the calendar. I hope we can once again deliver a good race – not only for the benefit of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but also for the benefit of Formula 1 as a whole, and most especially the fans.”
A #mclaren50 memory
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, November 13 2011
With both 2011 world championships already wrapped up by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing, the penultimate race of the season comes down to a battle of pride. Both Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers want to beat the recently crowned world champion, and they do exactly that.
However, first blood goes to Vettel in qualifying. He takes pole position in the dying moments of Q3 by 0.1s, but the order quickly changes at the start of the race. Vettel is forced to retire following a puncture at Turn 2, the German’s misfortune handing Lewis a lead that he never loses – despite the best efforts of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Only after the final round of pitstops is Lewis’s position at the front assured, and he crosses the line 8.4s ahead of Alonso. It’s his first victory since the German Grand Prix four months earlier and he emotionally dedicates it to his mother, Carmen, who’s watching from the pit garage.
Jenson Button has a very eventful race in the team’s second MP4-26. After starting third, he is passed by Alonso on the opening lap and then embarks on a race-long duel with Red Bull’s second driver, Mark Webber. Given that Jenson’s progress is hampered by a KERS problem, he drives a fantastic race to come home in third place, 10s ahead of Webber.
Lotus F1 Team
In This Twilight – 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview
Kimi Räikkönen: “The nice thing is that it starts so late”
After a challenging Indian Grand Prix, our Finn heads to the scene of his first race victory for Lotus F1 Team fired up for a strong result
How’s the feeling heading back to the scene of your 2012 race victory?
You just approach it like any race. I had a good result there last year, but I had a very boring race there the first time I visited in 2009. I’d prefer to have another good result, but you don’t know how strong you’ll be until you get to the circuit.
What do you think of the Yas Marina?
It’s a great place to go. The circuit is connected to big entertainment centre and you’ve got all the boats moored next to the circuit. There are often a lot of passionate fans watching the race and for me the hotel is walking distance from the track which I like. It’s also good to race at a circuit where you have had a strong result before.
Anything else in Abu Dhabi that’s good for you?
I like to be on a familiar time zone so you can wake up normally and do everything in the expected order. That’s one of nice things with this race; especially with it starting so late.
What do you think of the circuit itself?
The facilities are second to none. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking as there are not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be at the front and get a strong result from there. There are many corners, you need good overall downforce and grip, plus the car has to ride the kerbs very well too. It’s a track where you really hope to get everything nicely together during the whole weekend. When you succeed with that, it’s a good place to race. I have had one very boring race being stuck in the middle group and then one great race fighting for the victory at the top. I know which I prefer.
Your race in 2009 wasn’t one of your favourites then?
That was a boring one I can tell you! I finished back in twelfth position and there was nothing I could do about it. Those sorts of races are not the best.
How did it feel to take your 19th win in Abu Dhabi last year?
I was very happy for the team; myself also obviously, but mainly for the all the crew and everyone at Enstone. It was a hard season so the win was well deserved for everyone and just what we needed. It was something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team too. For me, it was just another win on the list. It’s great of course because it had been a few years, but the wins before were very similar; we didn’t have the best car, but we fought hard and still won.
How does the evening race timing influence the race?
An evening race means I can get up later! Having a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights. It’s different, interesting and spectacular for the fans to watch too.
You’ve had some great races where you’ve moved up the order superbly; what’s the key to overtaking in Formula 1?
You cannot plan it beforehand. Often an occasion comes suddenly and you have to jump on it immediately. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes not. More often nowadays you have to sit for quite a while behind somebody to work out where you can do it. Sometimes you just have to wait to see if the guy in front makes a mistake or if his tyres are finished quicker than yours; that’s when you do it.
How was your Indian Grand Prix?
We tried something different with a one stop strategy and it didn’t work, but we didn’t lose anything by making a late second stop over running the normal two stop strategy. I had a brake problem for all of the race where they were overheating, and this got worse in traffic so I couldn’t overtake.
What’s your target for Abu Dhabi?
A race like last year would be good, rather than the one I had there in 2009.
Romain Grosjean: “I’ve been on the podium for the last three races; I like it there!”
A storming drive through the field from seventeenth to third made three consecutive podiums for Romain Grosjean, who heads to Abu Dhabi with four-in-a-row very much the target
What do you think of the Yas Marina circuit?
It’s an amazing facility and it looks so impressive. It’s not used as much as some circuits over the course of the year so we know we’re going to get lower grip at the start of the weekend. For me, the layout is not my favourite – there are too many second gear corners for my liking – but not every circuit can be your favourite and the E21 certainly seems to be liking every track at the moment!
What types of memories do you have of Abu Dhabi?
My history in Abu Dhabi isn’t bad. Last year wasn’t the best weekend for me, as I qualified tenth and did not finish the race. It was however a great race for the team, so we know what is possible. I’ve been on pole position in the GP2 Asia Series and finished second in that race, then won a GT1 racing World Championship round there. My comeback to Formula 1 was also during an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice session in 2011, so I’ve got some good memories of the place. It would be nice to have some more…
The Indian Grand Prix was quite some drive for you from 17th on the grid to the podium?
If you had told me after qualifying that I’d be on the podium in India I would have said you were crazy! At the start of the race our prediction was fourth place at best if we could make a strong start and have a perfect race from there, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team. A friend of mine in the media said he would eat his hat if I made a one-stop strategy work, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.
With a different outcome on Saturday, would the win have been achievable?
If we’d started further up the grid then a fight for second would definitely have been possible, but Sebastian [Vettel] was just too quick. Congratulations to him; he’s a nice guy, a great driver, and I hope to be challenging him for that World Championship in the future…
Does the schedule of a late race affect you?
I quite like it as it means you can get more sleep and I like to sleep! The logistics of the race are pretty good as you stay right next to the circuit and the facilities are amazing. On the Friday you don’t start the first practice until the afternoon, then qualifying and the race itself start pretty late in the afternoon too so it’s different from a lot of races we do. Everything seems to work well like this, but in reality when you’re in the car you’re not thinking about the time of day; you’re thinking about the lap time!
What about the heat?
It’s certainly a contrast to the weather in Europe at the moment! The cockpit of a Formula 1 car can be a pretty hot place even when it’s cold outside, but certainly Abu Dhabi is one of the hotter places we visit. It’s very important that you take lots of fluids throughout the day – not just when you’re in the car – as you can get dehydrated if you’re not careful.
What’s your target for Abu Dhabi?
I’ll come with the same philosophy as those last few races to give and do my best. I’ve finished on the podium in Korea, Japan and India. It’s a good feeling being there. Without my engine problem in Singapore I could have been on the podium there too. Certainly in this latter part of the season, our latest car with the revised Pirelli tyres seems to work very well and I can get a good performance from it at different circuits. I only want to be scoring points for the team and you get the most points from being on the podium!
Eric Boullier: “We’ll give the other teams some headaches”
It was another strong result for the team in India – albeit with a little drama along the way – leaving Team Principal Eric Boullier buoyed by the positives heading to Abu Dhabi
How well placed is the team coming into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?
We are pretty well placed to continue fighting for podiums and aiming for that valuable second position in the Constructors’ Championship. Our car – the E21 – continues to impress no matter what the circuit, and that we are still able to make improvements to it so late in the season is a real testament to all the great work that goes on at Enstone. We’ll keep fighting hard until the end of the season and we’ll give the other teams some headaches.
It was a good points tally for the team in India?
We scored well, but it wasn’t a perfect performance as we messed up Romain’s qualifying and Kimi had a brake problem in the race. These are two areas we need to address, but on race day everyone performed brilliantly. Romain had a very strong drive and managed to conserve his tyre performance right to the end. He was fast despite having to nurse his engine, and being on the podium was a good reward for the whole team. Obviously it was disappointing that the tyres couldn’t last long enough for Kimi, as being third and fourth would have been an amazing result for the team and very useful in the Constructors’ Championship, but he managed his car’s brakes well to take a solid points finish.
Was there an issue with team orders in the race?
Romain was two seconds a lap faster than Kimi at that time, so it was not even a team order. By asking Kimi to let Romain pass, we just made the obvious choice, as Felipe [Massa] could have stolen our podium. With hindsight, this radio message could have been sent in a less emotional way. There was a lot of tension, a lot of potential technical problems, and some of the words that flew around were simply not appropriate. I know that quite a few people were surprised and I can only apologise for that on behalf of the team. It won’t happen again.
Romain continues to be impressive on track; where do you think his upturn in form has come from?
Romain has moved to another level since the German Grand Prix in many areas. His confidence is strong and he’s not affected by setbacks as much as he may have been previously. Certainly in India, we as a team made the wrong call with his qualifying strategy and he ended up in seventeenth on the grid. The Romain of old may have let his head drop, but we saw in the race that he drove in a very intelligent and measured manner; even when we started having engine problems. It was a very impressive performance. Also, as a team we have a very good handle on our car, the most recent updates such as the long wheelbase are working well, and the mid-season change to the tyre specifications by Pirelli also seems to have benefitted him.
Abu Dhabi was the scene of a great win last year; how far has the team come in the last twelve months and can it win again this season?
Another win in Abu Dhabi would be fantastic and if Kimi could do the same again it would be a superb result. In a year we’ve made good progress. Our understanding of this year’s car and our design development processes are coming on well. We brought out the long wheelbase version of the E21 to prove a new method of assessing and evaluating our design development path, and this has proved to be a success. This is very good news for the future; especially as we look ahead to such significant changes in 2014. We head to this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a strong car and we’re in a position where both our drivers are performing very well at the moment, so anything could be possible.
Alan Permane: “We have potential to be even stronger in Abu Dhabi than last year”
After a somewhat eventful Indian Grand Prix on the Lotus F1 Team pit wall, Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane looks ahead to the challenge of Abu Dhabi
The team scored its only race victory of 2012 in Abu Dhabi; what was the secret and is more of the same possible?
Kimi put in a fantastic drive and was able to capitalise on Lewis [Hamilton’s] retirement. Similarly to our current E21 chassis, last year’s E20 managed its tyres extremely well and it happened to do so particularly well around the Yas Marina Circuit. With that in mind – added to the fact that Pirelli have been a step more aggressive in terms of tyre allocation this season – there’s no reason to suspect we can’t have a very strong weekend again here.
What’s the secret to this tyre management?
It’s part of the entire design philosophy of the car. It’s something we’ve worked very hard on over the past few years, but certainly not something we’re going to be making common knowledge! Of course the flip side of this comes at circuits where the tyre allocation is perhaps a step too hard, in which case we struggle to switch the rubber on and our strength becomes a weakness. The aim, of course, is to build a car that is effective in either circumstance, and I think that’s where Red Bull are so strong.
What’s required from the car at the Yas Marina Circuit?
You need a car which is capable of doing two things that aren’t complimentary of each other. You want a setup which is fast down the straights and supple over the kerbs, but also gives responsive change of direction for the chicanes and good grip through the slower second gear corners towards the end of the lap. It’s a fine balance to find between making time down the straights or through the twisty bits. Of course, this compromise must also factor in the tyres as running less downforce can be kinder on the life of the rubber in some circumstances, but at the same time a higher downforce setting will help avoid the fronts sliding on corner entry and the rears spinning up on exit. Having the medium and soft compound once again – as per last time out in India – will be a challenge I’m sure. Making the soft tyre last in the heat of Abu Dhabi will undoubtedly be tough.
Does a twilight race provide an extra challenge?
It doesn’t really affect us in all honesty. We need to keep one eye on track temperatures as they will start to drop away as darkness falls, but the drop-off is not particularly significant. We usually see ambient temperatures of around thirty degrees and this doesn’t change dramatically even in the evenings so it won’t be a problem; particularly with the tyre allocation here.
What’s the latest about Romain’s engine problem in India?
We’re working closely with Renault Sport. The issue seems to be a repeat of the one we faced in Singapore where a leak in the pneumatic system caused a loss of air pressure. Fortunately, we know exactly what we have to do to fix it and Romain’s engine has gone through the correction process put in place after Singapore. Our engine partners are also checking – and double checking – every single race engine at Abu Dhabi to ensure that the same problem does not reappear.
Tyres are a hot topic once again; what tools do we have to prevent things like graining and blistering?
The teams don’t really have much to defend against graining in all honesty. You can set the car up to be more protective of whichever front tyre will suffer the highest stress – the right front in Abu Dhabi’s case – but that will simply delay the onset rather than completely eradicating the issue. The Yas Marina Circuit doesn’t have the same style of long corners as seen in India or Korea, so we’re unlikely to see the same levels of graining this weekend and it should be the same scenario in terms of blistering.
Analysing Abu Dhabi – An Engineer’s Guide to the Yas Marina Circuit
Turn 1: The first corner is medium speed – taken at around 130kph – leading into the high speed Turns 2 + 3; both of which should be flat out in qualifying and only giving the drivers something to think about when they are on heavy fuel loads.
Turn 2: A defining corner for setup. You need sufficient front wing to eradicate high-speed understeer here, which defines how much front wing is used overall as the remaining corners around the track can all use less than that required for this corner.
Turn 5: One of the bigger braking demands on the circuit; down from around 300kph.
Turn 7: A second gear corner taken at around 70kph, strong engine pickup is vital out of Turn 7 for a good entry onto the circuits’ longest straight.
Turns 8 – 9: Arriving at the end of one of the longest straights in Formula 1 – with maximum speeds of around 320kph – heavy braking down to second gear and around 80kph is required for Turns 8 – 9. The kerbs are used aggressively through this combination, so a soft car is beneficial.
Approaching Turn 11: Another long straight with top speeds in excess of 300kph leads into a second heavy braking zone for Turn 11. The Turn 11 – 13 sequence requires good change of direction from the car.
Turns 11 – 21: The final sector is all very low-speed with a lot of second gear corners; reminiscent of a street course. Seeing the cars dive under the brightly lit Yas hotel is one of the greatest spectacles of the year.
Rear Wing: The more recent circuits – Suzuka, Korea and India – have required a high-medium downforce level. While the Yas Marina continues this trend, it also factors in a need to maintain good speed on the long straights while maximising grip in the low-speed final sector.
Front Wing: Turn 2 is the crucial corner for determining how much front wing is used. More front wing is required here than for any other corner, so you need sufficient front wing to prevent excessive understeer at Turn 2 without causing too much detriment elsewhere.
Suspension: The kerbs are more pronounced than seen at some other tracks, in particular Turns 8,9 and through the last sector. A soft car which rides the kerbs well helps here, but it’s a trade off between having a soft car which will ride over the kerbs and one which is stiff enough for the driver to have a sharp change of direction which is necessary for the chicanes – 8-9 and 11-13.
Brakes: There are reasonable braking demands, especially into Turns 5, 8, 11 which have quite high speed approaches to the low speed corners. Temperatures will need to be monitored as will wear; these are not likely to be an issue, but more attention is paid to them here than at other tracks.
Engine: The day to night schedule makes ambient conditions vary significantly and grip levels, tyre warm up and air pressure will change. The engine needs to respond to this new set of parameters, so careful engine management and flexibility is crucial.
Tyres: The consecutive allocation of the medium and soft compound Pirelli tyres should not present too many issues, with both tyres likely to suit the circuit – opening up the potential strategy permutations.
Partner Perspective: Emaar Properties / Clear & Rexona
Rev Up: Emaar strengthens international brand outreach as ‘Official Partner of Lotus F1 Team’
Lotus F1 Team is a formidable force on the Grand Prix circuit, bringing pride to its racers, organisers, and partners. From the likes of Renault, Total, Microsoft Dynamics, and burn, the team has truly elevated brand outreach to a different level.
Complementing Lotus F1 Team’s mission is global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC, who much like its partner is committed to making milestones having created iconic projects such as Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – and The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination.
Emaar has joined forces with Lotus F1 Team as ‘Official Partner;’ marking its first high-profile endorsement of motor racing and following on from the team’s triumph at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Kimi Räikkönen.
Mohamed Alabbar – Chairman of Emaar Properties – said: “Formula 1 racing brings man, mind and machine in one exciting journey quest for perfection. The minute attention to detail, the passion and commitment, and the determination of every participant to push the boundaries are values that have also set Emaar apart, as we challenged accepted norms to develop world-class projects such as Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.”
“Our partnership with Lotus F1 Team – a remarkable outfit with impeccable credentials in the racing world – is therefore a perfect fit with our own values. As they race at Formula 1 World Championship circuits across the world, we are truly honoured to extend our support to Lotus F1 Team while also engaging with our international clientele and further defining the global identity of our brand.”
Clear and Rexona to host exclusive Lotus F1 Team Meet & Greet
CLEAR and Rexona – Official Partners of Lotus F1 Team – are set to host an exclusive press event for the team prior to this year’s 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The press conference – which is set to take place onboard the Jasmin Yacht at the Yas Marina on Thursday 31st October – will give media attendees a chance to meet the Lotus F1 Team drivers, as well as hearing their thoughts on this year’s season.
CLEAR Men & Rexona Men’s partnership with Lotus F1 Team reflects a strong synergy between Formula 1 and the winning impact that high efficacy, high precision, high performance brands like CLEAR Men & Rexona Men can offer.
In conjunction with the Lotus F1 Team partnership, Unilever has just announced a global CSR initiative ‘Helmet for Heads,’ whereby hair care brand CLEAR will be making a positive impact on and contributing to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety [2011-2020], managed by the Road Safety Fund.
Inside Line: The Latest News from Enstone
Stockinger on Song
With the World Series by Renault 2013 Championship season now complete, collective testing got underway last week at the Circuit de Catalunya with Lotus F1 Junior Team driver Marlon Stockinger dominating the second day of proceedings at the Spanish circuit.
Having placed inside the top ten during the morning session, the young Filipino star then comfortably set the fastest lap of the day during afternoon running to wrap up his first season in the category on a high note. Looking ahead to 2014, the Lotus F1 Junior Team driver has his sights firmly set on continuing his strong recent progression:
“It was a pleasure to test with the championship winning team, even if we had a few problems to deal with. It was a perfect day; the team gave me a fantastic car. Judging by the gap we had on the others and the way we improved over the day, it would be great to sign up for another season together next year.”
To keep up with Marlin’s progress, head to the Lotus F1 Junior Team section of our official website -> http://bit.ly/1gmIyR4
Looks Who’s Talking: Social Media in Action
Spotlight On… Competitions
As you may recall, we offered one lucky fan the chance to hitch a Formula 1 taxi ride with us at the Circuit Paul Ricard in our latest [and possibly greatest] online competition to date; the #UpForAFreeRide prize draw! Here, the delighted winner of that contest – Lasse Lipponen – gives us a taste of his once-in-a-lifetime experience…
How did you feel when you received contact from the team to say you’d won the draw for the free Formula 1 taxi ride?
I could not believe it; I thought it was some form of a hoax. But as it sank in I was giggling to myself for the rest of the day! On the Monday evening over a few pre-dinner drinks, it all started to become a reality; to be there at Paul Ricard – a circuit I’ve always wished to visit – I was over the moon! I can tell you, sleep did not come easy that night!
Talk us through your experience, how did your day unfold?
The next morning I woke up early, raring to go. The first briefing session prepared me for going onto the track in the Formula Renault. I had a repeat on safety, a guide of the race lines, what to do if we spun, and then some information on braking, clutch and throttle technique. Then we were on the track for our first run! The cockpit of the Formula Renault is a tight fit for my 6 foot, 15 stone frame. We learned the race lines and the low driving position of the Formula Renault really changed the perspective of what you imagine it would be.
What was the experience like being in the car?
For the first time I could feel the aerodynamic lifting force trying to lift my helmet off as we got up to speed on the straights. As the session progressed I became more at home in the Formula Renault, although it’s not something that you can quickly get used to!
How did the Formula 1 car differ to the Formula Renault?
The Formula 1 car was incredible; it’s a vicious beast that commands respect, and I tend to err on the safe side! The way the drivers handle these cars is incredible; the reflexes as they catch the car slipping on a damp track, the speeds they take the corners, the unbelievable force during braking. It was pure adrenaline! I felt like “We’re going to brake now… now we have to brake… oh, so you don’t have to brake at that corner …” it was just spectacular! Not the most comfortable ride of my life, but definitely the most enjoyable.
What was the highlight of your day? And what memory will you keep for the rest of your life?
The people, team and guests alike. I got to feel like a part of the team for a full day and met some very interesting people. Of the events, the Formula 1 ride is one thing I will never forget. The experience I had must be any fan’s dream; getting to know your favourite team and experiencing some high octane, adrenaline packed racing fun in the process.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Preview
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Round 17 of the 2013 Formula One World Championship and the season’s only twilight race, takes place at the impressive 5.554 km Yas Marina Circuit at 17:00 hrs on Sunday 3 November.
- 12 of the circuit’s 21 corners are taken in second gear of below, with six taken at less than 100 km/h
- The twisting third sector of lap includes over half of the corners on the circuit, 11 in total
- Lewis has led more laps at Yas Marina than any other driver (86) since the first race in 2009
- Yas Marina features an average of 68 gear changes per lap, the second highest value of the season after Singapore
The Abu Dhabi weekend is a real favourite of mine and it’s a great event for the fans, our partners and the team. It’s also very unique as a twilight race and working on a different timetable makes a nice change from the usual race weekend. On the track, we will be looking to continue the pace and performance of the car that we saw in India and hopefully the result. It was a really positive weekend for me and I’m pleased that the team now has renewed momentum in our fight for second place.
The race in Abu Dhabi is always a fun weekend and one which I really enjoy. The circuit and the whole Yas Marina complex are so impressive and racing from the sunshine into the twilight is quite special. With three races left of the season, we are still pushing and there is a lot that our team can achieve in that period. It’s all about consistency now and making sure that both Nico and I score good points so that we can keep the other teams behind us. We’re up for the challenge!
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is undoubtedly one of the highlights on the Formula One calendar and a weekend that everyone at the team always enjoys. The uniqueness of the twilight racing and the wonderful facilities at the Yas Marina Circuit make for quite a spectacular show, both for the crowds at the track and for those watching on television. The circuit layout is challenging with the brakes under particular strain and overtaking can be tricky despite the long straights. This is a demanding period with four of the seven season-ending flyaway races now completed and I am pleased with how the motivation and commitment levels at our team are remaining so high. India was a strong weekend for us with some valuable points scored and we will aim to have another positive weekend in Abu Dhabi to consolidate our position.
We delivered a good team result in India, with podium number eight this year and our biggest points total since the Belgian Grand Prix. Our target now is to build on that momentum in Abu Dhabi. We know what to expect at Yas Marina: a circuit where good traction is important, as well as strong straightline speed, and conditions in which it’s important to look after the rear tyres, especially through the first stint when the track temperatures are still high. All of us in the team know that the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship will go down to the final race. We are ready for the fight.
Sauber F1 Team
- Preview – 2013 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- 17th Round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 1st to 3rd November 2013
After a disappointing race in India the Sauber F1 Team moves on to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is taking place from 1st to 3rd November. The team hopes to make up for lost ground in Abu Dhabi. Despite a minor setback, the team is optimistic for the race, because the performance of the car in India was again good. The goal will be to deliver a flawless weekend and score maximum points.
Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a stunning event, especially during twilight when you get some really nice footage and pictures. The paddock is really nice and probably has the best atmosphere of the year with very modern facilities. The track is pretty tricky and technical, especially the last sector which has a lot of twisty, 90-degree corners. It’s easy to get it wrong and overdo it in qualifying. It’s not one of my most favourite circuits. I think it’s too much stop-and-go and it’s missing a flow. We will have plenty of work to do so we can understand the tyres.”
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“The Yas Marina Circuit is a great place to have a Formula One race. I really enjoyed racing there in GP2 and also testing for Formula One in previous years. The track is pretty straightforward and I have quite a bit of mileage there. Sector one has two high-speed corners that are fun. Sectors two and three have a few tight corners, which require a lot of traction. After the Indian GP we will approach the weekend in a positive way and look forward to getting the maximum out of it. In terms of racing, to me it doesn’t make a difference if we race during the day or at night, but the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi is always good, and I look forward to the weekend.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“The Yas Marina Circuit has three very different sectors. The first one is short with a medium and two higher speed corners, the middle sector is dominated by long straights and tight low speed corners, while the final sector is a relentless sequence of mainly low to medium speed corners. The nature of the track is typically hard on the brakes and rear tyres. As in Delhi, Pirelli will provide the medium and soft tyre compounds. The main aim during free practice on Friday will be to understand how these tyres work at a very different circuit. We aim to continue our strong run of getting into Q3 to give ourselves the best chance of scoring points on Sunday.”
|Circuit||Yas Marina Circuit / 5.554 km|
|Race distance||55 laps / 305.355 km|
|Schedule||Qualifying 17:00 hrs local time (14:00 CET), Race 17:00 hrs local time (14:00 hrs CET)|
|Driver||Nico Hülkenberg||Esteban Gutiérrez|
|Born||19.08.1987 Emmerich (DE)||05.08.1991 Monterrey (MX)|
|Height / Weight||1.84 m / 74 kg||1.80 m / 63 kg|
|First GP||Bahrain 2010||Melbourne 2013|
|Best race result||4th Belgium (2012), Korea (2013)||7th Japan (2013)|
|Best qualifying||1st Sao Paulo (2010)||9th Korea (2013)|
|Points 2013||39 (currently 11th)||6 (currently 16th)|
|Points in total||124||6|
|The Sauber F1 Team has 45 points to its tally and currently holds 7th place in the Constructors’ Championship.|
Sahara Force India F1 Team
2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview
Sahara Force India gets ready for round 17 of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Dr Vijay Mallya looks back on a successful weekend in India and ahead to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Dr Mallya, how satisfying was it to see both cars score points in India?
I was delighted with the double points finish; I don’t think we could have done much better. The result was due to a combination of the small steps we’ve made optimising the set-up and some out-of-the-box thinking in terms of strategy. That’s got to be the mantra for the next three races.
Given how challenging the second part of the season has been, it must be a welcome boost for team morale…
The last few races have been frustrating for us. Even tracks such as Monza and Spa, where we have traditionally been strong, did not work out well for us. But I feel that a lot of the frustration is now behind us, not quite all of it, but most of it. The car is working better and we seem to be heading in the right direction.
It was another successful event as a whole for India. How important is it that Formula One returns to India in the near future?
India is an economy that cannot be ignored. This country has enormous potential, not just for Sahara Force India, but in terms of all the partners and stakeholders in Formula One. It’s unfortunate that there won’t be a race in 2014, but the promoter has assured me personally and also assured the Indian fans at large in media interviews that the race will return from 2015 on a sustainable basis. With that kind of optimism and forceful commitment all I can do is hope that it will return.
What are your thoughts ahead of this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi?
We’re certainly very happy that we got things right last weekend and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be in the points going forward. Don’t forget this team was a regular top ten finisher in the first half of the year, so we just need to recapture our old form. Our performance in India showed what we are capable of and there’s no reason why we can’t carry this through to the final three races.
Paul on Abu Dhabi
Paul Di Resta reflects on a strong Indian Grand Prix and looks forward to racing at Yas Marina.
Paul, a strong drive in India must have been a welcome boost in the team’s home race…
It’s a well-earned result by everyone and very important for the team’s hopes in the championship. We’ve had a tough run of things lately, so to get two cars in the points at the team’s home race has given us something to smile about.
After a tricky second half of the season do you feel more optimistic heading into this weekend?
We will certainly go to Abu Dhabi to try and repeat the performance. The direction we’ve taken with the car recently is more of a back-to-basics approach, which has helped. It’s given me more confidence and I can be more committed with the car. That’s really important for a driver and it will help us for both qualifying and the race.
Abu Dhabi is a spectacular venue for Formula One. Do you enjoy the event?
I enjoy driving there because it’s a twilight race and one of the more spectacular events of the year – a bit like Singapore. As a track you don’t have to rely too much on aero performance because it’s mostly low-speed and that should suit our car quite well.
Adrian on Abu Dhabi
Adrian Sutil gets set for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Adrian, you must have been happy to pick up two points following your one-stop strategy in the Indian Grand Prix…
I think the strategy we chose led us to the best result we could achieve. It just shows that if you try something a bit different you can come away with a good result. It was the riskier choice because the soft tyre was an unknown experience in race conditions, but I was able to look after it well and I still had strong pace in the last few laps of the race.
How is the mood in the team after a strong performance at the team’s home race?
We certainly needed some points and I think we are feeling more optimistic now. The car had a very nice balance in India – it was easier to drive, much more consistent and that helped us achieve the one-stop race. With both cars in the points everybody is feeling more positive going into this weekend.
What about your thoughts on the Yas Marina circuit?
It’s one of the most perfect tracks on the calendar because there’s not a stone out of place! It almost feels like a futuristic venue and with the harbour location it’s like a second Monaco. The track layout is not my favourite because it’s mostly low-speed, but as an event it’s certainly a highlight of the year.
Abu Dhabi GP Preview
- When: Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd November, 2013
- Where: Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
- Round: 17 of 19
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a unique race starting under the glare of the sunshine and ending as the sun goes down. The Yas Marina Circuit features medium to high efficiency, with long straights and slow speed corners, which results in high brake energy. It has a lower than average turn angle but corner speeds and fuel consumption are about average. However, the circuit is different to most for tyres; lateral tyre energy is low whilst longitudinal energy is high due to the severe braking and traction demands. Furthermore, the track surface not only improves over the weekend, but the track evolves between and even within sessions, with sometimes significant drops in track temperature. Tyre degradation can be an issue due to the high temperatures and changing track conditions, this could be especially important in the race regarding strategy and the order in which you run on each compound.
Pastor Maldonado: Last year I had a good race weekend here, qualifying in P3 and finishing P5 despite not having KERS available in the race, so this is a track that suits me and I have good memories of it. Abu Dhabi also has great weather, nice people and is generally impressive all around so it is a nice place to visit. I like the track’s first sector in particular as it is very quick, particularly Turns 2, 3 and 4, and the final sector is very picturesque. Whenever we visit a race with a hot climate we can see thermal tyre degradation, so this will be a focus for us in the build up to the weekend. We have made some progress in recent weeks and the car felt better in India, so we will be looking to continue moving forwards as we approach the final few races of the season.
Valtteri Bottas: Abu Dhabi is very different to recent tracks; the corners are quite short with lots of chicanes and big braking zones, so we will need to set the car up differently. You need good traction when exiting the corners to minimise wheel spin and your car needs to be good at taking kerbs. We are not expecting the track to be too severe on tyres, although because the ambient and track temperatures are quite high the tyres can degrade thermally quite a bit so we will need to manage that. I have good memories of the Yas Marina Circuit as this is where I drove a Formula One car for the first time in 2011 with Williams, and we had a strong result here last year as well which should prove useful for this weekend when setting the car up.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: The Yas Marina Circuit is a very typical modern style track with mainly slow to medium corners, long straights and tight hairpin bends. The stop start nature of the track makes fuel consumption very high over one lap, and is further increased by the high atmospheric pressure due to being at sea level. The day to night schedule makes ambient conditions vary significantly, plus grip levels and tyre warm up and air pressure will change. The engine needs to respond to this new set of parameters so we are constantly monitoring weather reports throughout the weekend.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: Abu Dhabi is one of the circuits that we know best as we’ve done so much of our testing there before we came into Formula One. It’s a varied track with a bit of everything so we wanted to open up as many options as possible, which is why we selected the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft. That’s the same choice that we had in India but the usage conditions are going to be very different this time. That’s not only because the characteristics of the two circuits are very different, but also because the weather will not be the same. Abu Dhabi is the only race of the year that starts off in the late afternoon and ends in the evening, which means that the pattern of track and tyre temperature evolution is very different to what we find anywhere else. This will have a big effect on the strategy, so the work that the teams carry out in free practice especially will be very important.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixView
Race Laps: 55
High percentage of low and medium speed corners, like Hungary but with two long straights
Limited number of high speed corners: T2-T3 & T20
High fuel effect circuit
Medium-high brake energy but two high power braking zones
Braking stability & good brake cooling are very important
No major bumps on track
No kerbs are high but landing from kerb is very important for traction
In FP1 the track is usually dusty and green but the circuit evolves very quickly
Main observation is track temperature change: In FP1 and FP3 the ground temperature can be around 40°C, while for FP2, quali and the race it is often around 30°C – this is an important consideration for tyre evaluation and setup work
Air/Track temp ( C): 31 / 42
Pitlane altitude (m): 0
ATM Press (HPA): 1011
Hum (%): 53
Wind (kph): S 1
P1: HAM (1:40.630 Q3)
P2: WEB (1:40.978 Q3)
P3: VET (1:41.073 Q3)
CF1T best: P19 KOV (1:44.956 Q1)
P1: RAI (1:44.450 L50)
P2: ALO (1:44.090 L53)
P3: VET (1:43.964 L54)
CF1T best: P13 KOV (1:47.115 L51)
Overtaking chance: T8, T11
Ride height setting particularity: low
Engine severity: medium
Gearbox severity: medium / high
Lat/Long grip: medium
Aero eff ratio: low
Safety car history: 2012 – 2 (laps 9 – 14, 39 – 42), 2011 – none, 2010 – 1 (laps 1 – 5)
Track grip evo during w/e: high
Aero settings: high
Brake wear severity: medium / high
Brake cooling necessity: high
Charles Pic: “India didn’t go to plan at all, but with Abu Dhabi back-to-back with the Indian GP we have the chance to come back right away at a track we all know very well. Our car does seem to perform better when the track conditions are hot and even though we race from the late afternoon into the evening, it’s still hot so we are definitely aiming to get back to the performance levels we’ve targeted for this stage of the season.
“Before going to Abu Dhabi I’m doing a couple of days filming in Dubai with Renault and what they have planned looks really cool. I’m excited about seeing how it all comes out and even though it’s obviously still work it will be a good way to relax away from the circuit for a few days.
“After the filming I’ll be going to Abdu Dhabi and straight to work on Thursday. The track itself is a good technical challenge for both drivers and engineers and grip levels evolve a lot as the weekend continues but one thing we have to watch closely is how the tyre behaviour changes as the track temperatures go up and down – they can differ by up to 10°c between FP3 and qualifying so understanding how to get the best out of the tyres in the different conditions is very important. It’s also a track where you can overtake, at the end of the two long straights, so with DRS and KERS it’s a track where you do see fights up and down the grid – and that’s what both the fans and the drivers want!”
Giedo van der Garde: “Straight on to Abu Dhabi and race 17. I have a couple of days off to recharge after India which was obviously a disappointing end to what had been a pretty good weekend until my race ended so early. It’s good that the next race is in Abu Dhabi as it’s a track I know well having raced there in GP2 and run for two days in the F1 rookie test last year with Caterham.
“For me Abu Dhabi’s a great place to race, for the teams and fans. People used to have a go at the circuit layout but I think it’s pretty cool. The garages are air conditioned, the only ones like that anywhere we race, and that makes life a bit easier for the boys in the garage. That’s important, particularly as we go to Abu Dhabi straight after India, but it’s not just that, it’s everything about the circuit that makes it a great race. The organisers have worked really hard to put on a lot of entertainment for the fans, not just the racing, the facilities are top class and there’s a really good atmosphere around the whole place for the race week.
“After a tough couple of races the main goal is obviously to get back to the performance levels we were putting in at races like Spa. We have the pace on Sundays to fight, we have the determination to keep pushing the teams ahead and maybe we just need a bit of the luck that seems to have deserted us recently. Our time will come, I’m sure of that.”
Marussia F1 Team
DESTINATION: ABU DHABI
- What we’re saying about the 2013 Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – 1-3 November
- Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
- 1-3 November 2013
All you need to know >>> Race date 3 November…Laps 55…Circuit length 5.554 km…Race distance 305.355 km…21 corners, 12 left-handers, 9 right…Lap record 1:40.279 (S. Vettel – 2009)…First race 2009, also first F1 twilight race with powerful lighting ensuring seamless transition from day to night…One of the sport’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’ races thanks to its majestic blend of super-circuit, waterfront setting and luxury experiences aplenty…One of the most striking features – the magnificent ‘light-show’ that is the Yas Viceroy Hotel, with a connecting bridge running over the track…Circuit hallmarks – one of the few anti-clockwise tracks on the calendar…boasts top speeds of 320 km/h and average speeds of 195 km/h…aside from the impressive waterside marina area, there are high-speed sections (including one of the longest straights on the calendar), tight corners for overtaking, and even a twisty street circuit-style sector…one of the longest and most demanding tracks in the world…always delivers close and competitive racing. Tyre nomination Pirelli PZero White Medium and Yellow Soft – the last time the Soft will be used this season…
The sport has made the journey from New Delhi to the Middle East and one of its favourite racing destinations – Abu Dhabi. There are insufficient words to describe the magnificent Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island and the showpiece that is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Max Chilton has some experience of the track, having taken part in Free Practice 1 here last year in his role as Marussia F1 Team Reserve Driver. Jules Bianchi had a similar opportunity with Force India in 2012.
The whole team effort will be focused on consolidating 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship and continuing to put mileage on the team’s most recent car developments.
Jules Bianchi, Driver #22
“We enjoyed a very strong race in India last weekend, so we are keen to carry this momentum forward with the advantage of just one week between races. Abu Dhabi is a fantastic venue to race at and I enjoyed the track a lot when I drove in FP1 last year. It’s quite exciting to be able to start a race in full daylight and finish it at night with the track artificially lit – another new and interesting experience for me. Our car performance is quite strong at the moment and we have the new suspension development to work with again here, so I’m really hoping for a race where I am finally able to make the most of those factors.”
Max Chilton, Driver #23
“Taking part in FP1 at the Yas Marina Circuit last year was one of the highlights of my career and racing here for the first time is certainly one of the things I have been most looking forward to in my debut season. It’s a great circuit, in a part of the world I love. With GP2 Series running with us here in Abu Dhabi it has been nice to spend some time ahead of the business end of the week training and relaxing with drivers I raced alongside over the past few years. I had a great race last Sunday and it has been nice to reflect on that and think about how we can maintain our current stride with three very important race weekends remaining. Yas Marina Circuit is a tough track technically and physically, but I’m feeling confident and aiming for a repeat performance from India.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be another tough back-to-back for the race team, who have been pretty much straight on the case with unpacking the freight from India and setting up for the weekend ahead. The task is made easier by the fact that Yas Marina Circuit is a magnificent track – aesthetically pleasing, technically interesting and demanding of drivers and engineers. The Drivers’ Championship may have been decided but for us there are still three critical races ahead. We took a great deal of heart from our performance in New Delhi last weekend and we would hope to continue in much the same vein here this weekend. We will conduct a further evaluation of our new suspension developments on Friday morning and see how things go from there. Generally we are feeling positive about our current performance level.”
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview: Yas Marina,
MEDIUM AND SOFT P ZERO TYRES ONCE MORE FOR ABU DHABI
Milan, October 28, 2013 – The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the only race of the year that starts in the late afternoon and ends in the twilight of the evening, providing the drivers and teams with a unique challenge and the audience with a breath-taking spectacle.
The tyres for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft: the same nomination that was made for India last weekend. The temperature range that the tyres will experience this weekend though is very different, as unlike most other races track temperature falls as the grand prix goes on in Abu Dhabi, rather than rises.
Paul Hembery: “The way that the track temperature falls in Abu Dhabi obviously has an effect on both wear and degradation, meaning that teams are able to do longer runs even on the softer compound later in the race. There are some important implications for strategy here, which means that it’s often possible to try something different in Abu Dhabi than you would in other places, which might well pay off at the end of the race. As a company, Abu Dhabi is a circuit that we know very well because it’s where we did some testing before we started in Formula One. It’s also where the Formula One teams got to sample our tyres for the first time, back at the end of 2010. When it comes to the actual venue, Yas Marina is one of the most modern and spectacular circuits of the year with a number of different technical challenges that test most aspects of a tyre’s overall performance. Tyre wear and degradation isn’t especially high here: last year, when we also nominated the medium and soft, most drivers just stopped once. As the compounds are generally softer this year we’d expect two stops this time, although it’s quite possible that some teams might try just one. We will have to wait for the Friday running until we have a clearer picture of the time difference between the two compounds but overall we’d anticipate race pace among the frontrunners to be reasonably closely balanced, and it’s always under these circumstances that having the right strategy can really make a significant difference. Although there’s quite a high degree of track evolution, and conditions in free practice aren’t always representative of the race, the work done during the Friday and Saturday sessions will be instrumental in shaping each team’s understanding of which strategies are both possible and advantageous on Sunday.”
Jean Alesi: “Abu Dhabi is not a track I have raced on myself, so it’s hard to comment from a driver’s perspective, but it certainly looks spectacular to watch and it’s fantastic to see so much infrastructure invested in Formula One. The only negative impression I had of the circuit initially was that it seemed quite difficult to overtake on sometimes, but I think that this issue has been addressed now and it is also interesting these days to see how the drivers use strategy to gain track position. I’m sure that pit stops will be important this weekend in Abu Dhabi as well. This doesn’t look like a race that will be particularly hard on tyres, but the circumstances are a little bit different from usual, with the race taking place late in the afternoon, so it’s quite hard to predict what’s going to happen. I’ve had some experience of racing in the twilight and the dark from Le Mans and it’s really not easy, but I think it’s probably easier in a Formula One car than in an endurance car, as Formula One cars don’t have headlights. The headlights make it quite hard to judge perspectives – particularly if you’re being overtaken – so it’s better to just have lights on the circuit, like Singapore and Abu Dhabi.”
The circuit from a tyre point of view:
On average the track temperature drops by 15 degrees during the race, falling from around 45 degrees at the start to 30 degrees at the end: which is normally about the same as ambient temperature. This is the opposite to what is seen at most hot races taking place in the early afternoon, where track temperature tends to remain higher than ambient temperature.
A bit like Suzuka, the first part of the circuit essentially consists of a continuous series of bends, which subject the car to lateral acceleration forces of 4g. The tyres then have to deliver optimal performance down a long straight, with the cars on full throttle for around 15 seconds, which equates to a downforce loading of approximately 800 kilogrammes pushing down on all four wheels.
Traction is the key aspect to a strong performance at Yas Marina, as there are not so many high-speed corners. To help the drivers gain maximum traction, the engineers tend to set up the cars with quite a soft rear end, but this can lead to increased rear tyre wear. If the set-up is too stiff at the back the opposite problem can occur: excessive wheelspin, which also takes life out of the tyres.
Further information about Abu Dhabi and the demands it places on tyres, as well as information about how temperatures affect performance, can be found on a 3D animated video starring Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola. This is copyright-free for media use on Pirelli’s Formula One website: www.pirelli.com/f1pressarea
Technical tyre notes:
The Yas Marina circuit is located at sea level, with the higher air density boosting engine performance. This extra power also has an effect on tyre wear, with more demands being placed on the rear tyres in particular. The cars tend to run a medium downforce set-up, as Abu Dhabi is all about technical compromises.
The track surface in Abu Dhabi consists of stone quarried in England and is generally quite smooth. As more rubber is laid down there is a high degree of track evolution over the course of the weekend and it’s also common to find dust on the circuit during the early sessions, which is quickly swept away.
The top two finishers in Abu Dhabi last year (Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso) used a one-stop strategy, starting on the soft and ending on the medium. Sebastian Vettel, who started from the pit lane after having his qualifying times disallowed, eventually finished third with a two-stop strategy, having started on the medium and finishing with two stints on the soft tyre.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Orange|
Meet the Pirelli F1 Team: Federica Marini, catering manager
Last week we profiled Fabrizio the chef, who thanked his devoted army of catering workers, and this week we meet catering manager Federica. She grew up in Pescara, central Italy, until she was 18 when she went off to study in Rimini. Federica obtained a degree in economics and business, specialising in tourism, “so as you can see, my studies turned out to be not particularly relevant to what I’m doing at the moment!” she jokes. In fact, her plan was actually to become an accountant and she only got into motorsport by chance. Federica helped out at a GP2 race a few years back, covering for someone else at short notice. She enjoyed it, and so continued to work in GP2 while she was studying. Afterwards, perhaps predictably, Federica decided that motorsport was more interesting than accountancy, and off she went to travel the world. But it’s no holiday: at the start of the grand prix weekend Federica helps with the set-up of the motorhome facilities as well as the shopping. Then once the action gets underway she can be found at the front of house, serving lunch and dinner to Pirelli’s personnel and guests. She’s up early every day to be at the circuit by 8am at the latest and she’s among the last to leave as the hospitality team cleans up after dinner. “There’s always an adventure in this job: some good and some bad!” she adds. Maybe that’s why she likes to de-stress completely away from the races. “I love spending my free time with a good book, in silence,” Federica concludes. “And of course like many women, I’m slightly addicted to shopping…” By which we assume she means for clothes this time, rather than food.
Other news from Pirelli:
Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes from England won his first FIM Superbike championship at Jerez de la Frontera, while Aprilia wrapped up the teams’ championship. The Superbike championship has used Pirelli tyres exclusively for the 10th consecutive season.
Irishman Daniel McKenna has won the Pirelli UK Star Driver Award for 2014, which gives him a funded drive on next year’s British Rally Championship at the wheel of a Citroen DS3 R3T. McKenna saw off competition from five other finalists to claim the coveted prize, which was given to him by a distinguished panel of judges.
The P Zero app – which contains all the latest news from the world of Formula One – picked up a prestigious Lovie Award in London last weekend: the only pan-European awards ceremony dedicated to Internet content.
Renault Sport F1
Mark’s Abu Dhabi Preview
After the disappointment of last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix, Mark heads to the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi in search of his sixth podium finish of the season. Having retired from three of the last four races, he’ll be hoping for better reliability from his RB9 in Sunday’s 55-lap race.
“The problems on my car have been unfortunate,” says Mark. “We’ve been in strong positions at the last couple of races, but I’ve ended up standing on the side of the track and waving at the crowd. But I’ve been around long enough to know that you take the rough with the smooth in motor racing. The guys who prepare my car want to get the best possible results, so I’m sure our luck will change soon and we can finish the year off with some strong results.”
Pirelli are bringing the same rubber compounds to Abu Dhabi that were used in India. Once again the medium tyre is likely to have longevity, while the soft will be more of a qualifying tyre, on which the drivers will complete very few race laps. Such is the strategic nature of F1 in 2013.
“The driving challenge has changed this year,” says Mark. “No longer are we able to push ourselves to the limit for the duration of a grand prix because the tyres won’t last. It’ll be the same on Sunday, and due to the twilight nature of the race we’ll also be juggling with the change in track temperature. The asphalt cools by about 15 degrees once the sun has gone down and that has a big effect on tyre performance.”
With the race starting in daylight, at 1700 local, and ending after dark – at which point the circuit is lit by the largest permanent lighting system in the world – the drivers have a few visibility issues during the early laps of the race. It requires some lateral thinking to overcome the setting sun.
“When the sun gets low, the visibility is bad in a couple of places around the lap,” says Mark. “As a result, you have to play around with your visor a bit. You use a clear visor, but place some dark tear-offs on it, which you take off once the sun is gone. It adds an extra element to the race and makes this grand prix unique.”
As for the Yas Marina circuit, Mark says it’s not the greatest driving challenge.
“There are a lot of second-gear corners,” he says, “and they aren’t that stimulating to drive. The first sector is okay, and Turn 3 is a good challenge, but the rest of the lap is a bit Mickey Mouse. But I don’t want to say too many negative things about this race because it’s a spectacular event; there’s no doubt about that.”