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Complete Guide to Yas Marina Circuit

Situated on a man-made island, engulfed by cashed-up surroundings, lies the Yas Marina Circuit which plays host to this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Here is your complete guide to the track...
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31st, 2012 (F1plus / Jacob Polychonis).- The inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix created history in 2009 as it was the first ever Formula One day-night race. Since then, the Yas Marina Circuit has played host to three Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. All of these Grands Prix have been held at twilight and have subsequently delivered a unique feel to F1 racing.

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The Yas Marina Circuit is situated on an artificial island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As expected from this oil rich community, the circuit is artificially glamorous. Some of its surrounds include a marina, picturesque golf course, the Yas Viceroy hotel and Ferrari World. The circuit layout itself is not equally as glamorous though. In fact, the circuit can be quite a handful for drivers and is often recognised as an inferior track to the traditional circuits of the F1 calendar. Nonetheless, the circuit’s 21 turns spread over 5.6 km demands precision and it will certainly segregate the class of the field from the others.

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The current lap record holder is Sebastian Vettel from 2009 with a time of 1:40:279. The 2012 edition of the race will include 55 laps commencing at 17:00 local time. Here is your complete guide to the Yas Marina Circuit:

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Turn One: In qualifying trim, cars will approach turn one at approximately 290 km/ph, brake down to 3rd gear and corner at around 150 km/ph. In comparison to many turn one corners, it does not require heavy braking and as a result; do not expect to see many being out-braked here on the first lap.

Turns Two-Four: Turns two-four form a combination of high speed sweeping turns which constitute one of the most exhilarating parts of the lap for the driver. Lesser vehicles will certainly lose time here as they must tip-toe around turn three. Those with superior aerodynamic grip, such as Red Bull, will not lift at all for this sequence of turns during qualifying. Up to 4 times the force of gravity will pull on the drivers at this point of the circuit as they corner at up to 270 km/ph. A 2nd gear chicane immediately succeeds and is a good over-taking opportunity for those who are tidy through turns two-four.

Turn Seven: Turn seven is arguably the most crucial turn of the entire circuit. While it may be the most tedious and uninspiring task for drivers, it is followed by the second longest straight in Formula One. Drivers will continue to be punished for any time lost at turn seven all the way down the straight. Drivers plummet to 60 km/ph in 1st gear. Patience is the key on the exit as the corner can feel like an eternity to navigate. Just before turn seven is the first DRS activation point.

Turn Eight: Turn eight represents the best overtaking opportunity on the circuit. Drivers have the opportunity to utilise DRS down the straight which is followed by the hardest braking point of the lap. Drivers brake down from excess of 300 km/ph down to 1st gear again at approximately 70 km/ph. Turn nine follows which is a right hander, leading cars onto another long straight. Cars pass through the 2nd DRS activation point just after turn 9.

Turns Eleven-Thirteen: As drivers arrive from another DRS zone at over 300 km/ph; heavy braking is once again required for turn eleven. As a result, more overtaking opportunities are fostered here. The right-left combination which succeeds turn eleven adds an element of difficulty to making an overtaking manoeuvrer stick from turn eleven though. Those who take the inside at eleven will need to reward the opposing car some room to complete turn twelve. If still in good stead, the car who claimed the inside on turn eleven should eventually prevail at the left-handed thirteen and fourteen.

Turn Seventeen: Turn seventeen is arguably the most difficult turn on the track as it creates an extremely difficult task for drivers. Drivers arrive here after navigating the full throttle, high g-force turns of fifteen and sixteen. Drivers then must situate their cars appropriately to brake in a straight line which is a difficult task as cars are attempting to complete consecutive right-handed turns. Adding to the element of difficulty is the fact that cars must brake from approximately 270 km/ph to less than 100 km/ph. This must be achieved in a brief amount of time as the run from sixteen to seventeen is miniscule. Despite heavy braking, turn seventeen is practically impossible to overtake at. Furthermore, expect to see many drivers lock their front right tyres here.

From turn seventeen, cars negotiate two 90 degree left-handers. During this time, drivers travel underneath the Yas Viceroy hotel. To complete the lap, drivers then navigate a 4th gear right-hander, followed by the 2nd gear final turn.

In summary:

  • Sector One: Start/Finish-Turn 5
  • Sector Two: Turn 5-Turn11
  • Sector Three: Turn 11-Start/Finish
  • DRS Detection Points: Turn 7 entry, Turn 9 exit
  • DRS Activation Zones: Between Turns 7 and 8, Between Turns 10 and 11
  • Speed Trap: Before Turn 8
  • Overtaking opportunities: Turns 5, 8 and 11

The Impressive Yas MArina Circuit at Abu Dhabi.

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