The Yas Marina Circuit (Arabic: حلبة مرسى ياس) is the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke,[2][3] and is situated on Yas Island, near Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Yas Marina was the second of four Formula One tracks in the Middle East, with the first being in Bahrain and subsequent tracks in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. A two-day GP2 Asia Series test was held to officially open the circuit, which was held a week before the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.[4] It also hosted the opening event for the Australian V8 Supercars series, the Yas V8 400, in February 2010.[5][6] Outside motorsport the circuit was used for the final stage of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour cycle race in 2015.[7] The circuit has an FIA Grade 1 license.[8]

Design

A satellite image of the circuit, as it appeared in 2018

The circuit is located on Yas Island, a headland that was cut off from the mainland by a canal. It has sixteen corners and several straights,[9] and passes by the marina and through the Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi designed by New York-based architects Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote Architecture with a facade lighting design by Rogier van der Heide.

The circuit has five grandstand areas (Main Grandstand, West Grandstand, North Grandstand, South Grandstand, and Marina Grandstand) and part of its pit lane exit runs underneath the track. It also houses a team building behind the pit building, Media Center, Dragster Track and VIP Tower.[10] Additionally, one of the run-off areas runs underneath the West grandstand.

This changed when the previous turns 4, 5 and 6 were redesigned and the previous turns 11, 12 and 13 were also reconfigured in time for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

  • Seating Capacity – 60,000
  • Area – 161.9 ha (400 acres)
  • Length – 5.281 km (3.281 mi)
  • Longest straight – 1.14 km (0.71 mi)
  • Elevation change – 10.7 m (35 ft)

Construction

The circuit was built by main contractor Cebarco-WCT WLL, under contract from developer Aldar Properties. Among the sub-contractors involved were KOH AH HING (KAHBINA) from Malaysia (structural contractor), as well as specialised subcontractors like Voltas (MEP), PKE-Siemens (MEP), Able-Middle East (earthworks), Hamilton International (interior) and Bau Bickhardt (track) to name a few.

The circuit was constructed with a permanent lighting system provided by Musco Lighting, similar to the one installed at Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Yas Marina Circuit is the largest permanent sports venue lighting project in the world; previously the title had been held by Losail International Circuit.

The surface of the track is made of graywacke aggregate, shipped to Abu Dhabi from a Bayston Hill quarry in Shropshire, England. The surface material is highly acclaimed by circuit bosses and Formula One drivers for the high level of grip it offers, though at the expense of a higher rate of tyre wear. The same aggregate material is used at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix.[11]

On 7 October 2009, the circuit was granted final approval to hold Formula One races by the FIA.[12] Bruno Senna was the first driver to complete a test run on the circuit.

GP3 visited Abu Dhabi for the first time at the end of the 2013 season.[13]

Reception

After the first practice sessions at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the circuit was welcomed by the drivers, with Nico Rosberg commenting that every corner was 'unique',[14] while double World Champion Fernando Alonso echoed his sentiments, stating that it was enjoyable because there was always something to do. Force India's Adrian Sutil rated the circuit as being better than Formula One's other night race in Singapore as he felt there was too much light at Marina Bay.[citation needed]

Not all of the drivers were complimentary, with Giancarlo Fisichella expressing a particular dislike of the pit exit, which dips under the main circuit by way of a tunnel. Although the pit exit remained free of incidents for the early practice sessions, Fisichella claimed that it was both very difficult and dangerous.[14] Kimi Räikkönen notoriously gave his thoughts on the circuit, stating "the first few turns are quite good, but the rest of it is shit".[15]

After the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the designer Hermann Tilke said that they were considering making changes to the track to present more overtaking opportunities.[16] BBC Sport's Andrew Benson called the racing in the 2020 event "dreary" with Matt Beer of The Race naming the track layout as one of 6 reasons why the races in Abu Dhabi "consistently disappoint".[17][18] Drivers such as Daniel Ricciardo have also added their support for track changes.[19]

In June 2021, Saif Al Noaimi, acting CEO Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, said modifications to the track's layout had been approved, with the modifications completed in time for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.[20] Turns 4, 5, and 6 were replaced by a single, less severe hairpin, turns 11 through 14 were replaced by a sweeping banked curve, and turns 18 through 20 were made less tight to allow more speed to be carried through them.[21][22]

Events

Current
Future
Former

Lap records

The official fastest lap records at the Yas Marina Circuit are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event
Grand Prix Circuit (2021–present): 5.281 km
F1 1:26.103[23] Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB16B 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
FIA F2 1:37.445[24] Roy Nissany Dallara F2 2018 2021 Abu Dhabi Formula 2 round
LMP2 1:40.913[25] Paul di Resta Oreca 07 2022 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi Race 1
LMP3 1:48.198[26] Laurents Hörr Duqueine M30 D-08 2022 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi Race 2
Formula Regional 1:50.698[27] Isack Hadjar Tatuus F.3 T-318 2022 2nd Abu Dhabi Formula Regional Asian Championship round
GT3 1:51.985[25] Ben Barnicoat McLaren 720S GT3 2022 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi Race 1
Formula 4 1:54.671[28] Andrea Kimi Antonelli Tatuus F4-T-421 2022 1st Abu Dhabi Formula 4 UAE round
Porsche Carrera Cup 1.55.546[29] Bandar Alesayi Porsche 911 (992) GT3 2022 Abu Dhabi Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East round
Ferrari Challenge 1:56.889[30] Christian Brunsborg Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo 2021–2022 Abu Dhabi Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific round
Gulf Radical Cup 1:57.618[31] George King Radical SR3 2022 1st Abu Dhabi Gulf Radical Cup round
GT4 2:03.461[32] Khaled Alahmadi Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport 2022 Abu Dhabi Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East round
TCR Touring Car 2:06.264[33] Alexandros Annivas CUPRA León TCR 2021–2022 1st Abu Dhabi NGK UAE ProCar Championship round
Grand Prix Circuit (2009–2021): 5.554 km
F1 1:39.283 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
FIA F2 1:50.314 Alexander Albon Dallara GP2/11 2017 Abu Dhabi Formula 2 round
GP2 1:50.749 Sergio Perez Dallara GP2/08 2010 Abu Dhabi GP2 round
LMP2 1:56.560[34] Franco Colapinto Aurus 01 2021 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi Race 2
GP3 1:56.888 Marvin Kirchhöfer Dallara GP3/13 2014 Abu Dhabi GP3 round
LMP3 2:05.165[35] Malthe Jakobsen Ligier JS P320 2021 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi Race 1
Formula Regional 2:07.324[36] Jamie Chadwick Tatuus F.3 T-318 2020 Abu Dhabi F3 Asia round
GT1 2:07.376[37] Thomas Mutsch Matech Ford GT1 2010 Abu Dhabi FIA GT1 round
Formula Renault Eurocup 2:08.720[38] Victor Martins Tatuus FR-19 2019 Abu Dhabi Formula Renault Eurocup round
GT3 2:08.791[34] Ben Barnicoat McLaren 720S GT3 2021 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi Race 2
MRF Challenge 2:10.674[39] Felipe Drugovich Dallara Formulino Pro 2017 Abu Dhabi MRF Challenge round
Formula 4 2:11.046[40] Charles Weerts Tatuus F4-T014 2018 2nd Abu Dhabi Formula 4 UAE round
V8 Supercars 2.13.160[41] Jamie Whincup Holden VE Commodore 2012 Abu Dhabi V8 Supercar round
Porsche Carrera Cup 2:11.371[42] Dylan Pereira Porsche 911 (991 II) GT3 Cup 2020 Abu Dhabi Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East round
Ferrari Challenge 2:15.130[43] Philipp Baron Ferrari 458 Challenge Evo 2014 Finali Mondiali
Radical Middle East Cup 2.15.229[44] Jani Hjerppe Radical SR3 2018 1st Abu Dhabi Radical Middle East Cup round
GT4 2:21.240[45] Olli Caldwell Mercedes-AMG GT4 2018 Gulf 12 Hours
TCR Touring Car 2:21.896[46] Josh Files Honda Civic Type R TCR (FK2) 2017 Abu Dhabi TCR Middle East round
Short (Corkscrew) Circuit (2009–2021): 4.730 km
GP2 Asia 1:37.745 Jules Bianchi Dallara GP2/11 2011 Abu Dhabi GP2 Asia round
GT1 1:52.431[47] Maxime Martin Matech Ford GT1 2011 Abu Dhabi FIA GT1 round
Formula Regional 1:53.432[48] Jehan Daruvala Tatuus F.3 T-318 2021 1st Abu Dhabi F3 Asian Championship round
Formula 4 1:57.198[49] Dilano van 't Hoff Tatuus F4-T014 2021 2nd Abu Dhabi Formula 4 UAE round
V8 Supercars 1:57.740[50] Jason Bargwanna Holden VE Commodore 2011 Yas V8 400
North Circuit (2009–2021): 3.130 km
Formula 4 1:10.027[51] Olli Caldwell Tatuus F4-T014 2018 1st Abu Dhabi Formula 4 UAE round
TCR Touring Car 1:14.778[52] Luca Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR 2018 Abu Dhabi TCR Middle East round
South Circuit (2009–2021): 2.360 km
Formula 4 0:59.572[53] Jonathan Aberdein Tatuus F4-T014 2017 2nd Abu Dhabi Formula 4 UAE round

Gallery

See also

References

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External links