Yas Marina, the house of System 1’s season finales since 2014, may have a brand new search for this yr’s race.
Because it opened in 2009, the monitor been famend for producing processional races. In our index of race scores by RaceFans readers, its average score is just 5.91 out of 10, ranking 27th out of the 32 different circuits used since 2008.
Throughout that point the monitor has determined the result of the world championship on three events, all of which had been season finales. Even these occasions underlined the sheer issue of passing across the 5.5-kilometre monitor.
Fernando Alonso watched the 2010 title get away from him as he tried in useless to go Vitaly Petrov’s Renault. Six years later Lewis Hamilton backed up Nico Rosberg and the vehicles behind within the hope somebody would go his workforce mate and make him champion. It by no means occurred.
As RaceFans revealed yesterday, two areas of the 5.5-kilometre circuit will probably be extensively overhauled forward of the final spherical of the championship on December twelfth. A transparent focus of the change is creating overtaking alternatives.
One other part of the monitor can even be reconfigured extra subtly. A collection of corners which go beneath the dramatic Yas Viceroy resort can even be reworked, growing the tempo at a piece of monitor which punishes the tyres.
However will the revisions add as much as a extra thrilling race in just below 5 months’ time?
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Eradicating the flip five-six chicane
The chicane instantly earlier than the flip seven hairpin was at all times one of many strangest options of the unique, 21-turn Yas Marina course. There was some good considering behind it – decreasing the method velocity to the hairpin meant a smaller run-off space might be used, permitting the followers to sit down nearer.
However there’s little profit in shifting the followers nearer if the don’t get to see a lot motion. Sluggish chicanes have a tendency to rearrange vehicles single-file and inhibit overtaking strikes. Eradicating it’s a wise step, even when it means the brand new hairpin must be moved away from the stands to create extra run-off house.
The previous 4 corners are unchanged, so F1 will drivers may have a flat-out run from flip one to the brand new hairpin, the place passes could also be potential. They might no less than pressure a number one driver to defend, and carry the advantage of a superior exit onto the next straight for one more crack at passing. It’s onerous to see how this isn’t going to be a change for the higher.
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Yas Marina’s quickest nook?
Maybe probably the most stunning change is the dramatic nook which can exchange the present turns 11, 12, 13 and 14. The left-hander, which is barely banked and opens out at its exit, will doubtless be one of many quickest corners on the monitor.
Its addition will fully change the character of the center a part of the lap. The present sequence of bends is gradual, tight and unspectacular. The brand new bend is something however.
Drivers will method the brand new nook at vital velocity. There isn’t a nook very similar to it on the monitor at current, and with the banking it’s going to place added pressure on the tyres. Pirelli has at present specified its softest compounds for the Yas Marina race however the addition of this nook, together with the rising speeds elsewhere within the lap, could imply they should rethink that.
Automobiles will come out of the brand new nook at increased speeds than from the prevailing flip 14, that means they arrive within the third sector going faster than earlier than. Right here they’ll discover additional, much less dramatic modifications.
Quicker ultimate sector
A signature characteristic of the Yas Marina circuit is the part of monitor which passes beneath the on-site resort. It’s a powerful piece of structure, however the identical can’t be stated for the monitor itself at this level, which is decidedly pedestrian.
The tempo will rise this yr as a number of corners are being opened up right here to extend the cornering speeds. Turns 17, 18, 19 and 20 will all be eased, growing the speeds at this a part of the monitor as effectively.
With so many corners occuring so shut collectively, this space of monitor is unlikely to turn out to be an overtaking alternative. However as with the earlier change, the quickening of the circuit goes to impact how groups arrange their vehicles and notably how they use their tyres.
The ultimate sector has at all times been particularly punishing on the rubber. This sends tyre temperatures hovering, making it tougher for drivers to comply with carefully. Faster corners means much less extreme braking and fewer low-speed ‘traction occasions’, easing the pressure on the rubber. That ought to assist drivers scale back overheating and keep nearer to their rivals.
With its peerless services and spectacular setting, Yas Marina has at all times provided a luxurious visible spectacle to conclude the F1 season. The racing has, nonetheless, normally come up brief.
We’re a great distance from understanding whether or not Hamilton, Max Verstappen and anybody else will arrive on the ultimate spherical nonetheless disputing the future of this yr’s silverware. However no matter form the title struggle is in by then, these modifications imply the circuit ought to provide a extra satisfying contest. If nothing else, it’ll add one other variable to a championship conclusion which now options three heavily revised or entirely new circuits.