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Next race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Island
F1 encyclopedia

Yas Marina Circuit

Formula 1 circuit

Yas Marina Circuit
Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Yas Marina Circuit
CircuitYas Marina Circuit
CountryAbu Dhabi
LocationYas Island
Timezone+04:00
Race debut2009
Results for the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Pole positionLewis Hamilton
Race winnerLewis Hamilton
Fastest lapSebastian Vettel

No expense was spared building the Yas Marina Circuit, as Tilke was hired yet again to design another new entrant to the calendar. The first race was held in 2009, and although the surroundings were impressive, the calibre of racing left a lot to be desired. Featuring some gimmicks to make the twilight race more individual, such as the track disappearing under the nearby hotel, the event tries to encourage overtaking, but often fails. Huge run-offs are also very forgiving to driver mistakes.

F1 history

The Yas Marina circuit has received some unwanted negative attention it probably could have done without. The track is under fire for moving into the final race position, as the season finale has played out so well over the past few years in Brazil. The atmosphere at Interlagos has helped send the season off in style, and the clinical nature of the Abu Dhabi track doesn’t have quite the same effect.

Add on top of that the controversial rule change regarding double points at the final round of the season, dropped after just one year but still leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. The track does need something to spice it up, but that’s a separate issue to the one attempting to be fixed by double points. The track has been a feature on the calendar since 2009, and has yet to deliver a race that has been well received by fans.

The facilities surrounding the circuit are excellent, including the hotel with light-changing panels on the outside that make things that little bit more colourful. However, the track itself doesn’t have the right ingredients to rustle up a classic race. The organisers have tried to tempt good action from the track, even going so far as to make it a twilight race - the action now begins in the evening, starting in daylight and gradually darkening until the floodlights take over. Unfortunately, the glory of the night race was already taken by Singapore, and the dusky shadows of the twilight race don’t quite have the same impact.

Yas Marina is another anti-clockwise track which does provide a challenge for the drivers, along with the changing light conditions that a sinking sun creates. The lap starts on the smallest of three straights, with the first corner a difficult left hander that is deceptively fast. The pit lane exit goes underneath this section of track which has caused some safety concerns. The exit tunnels under the existing tarmac, which hasn’t yet created a problem, but there is always the spectre of a crash in the underpass causing some serious difficulties.

The track continues uphill, getting faster with a sequence of flowing corners to the left and right, until things slow down for the hairpin. The long back straight follows, with a hard braking corner at the end of it. The third sector features a slow chicane, and the section of track that dips under the hotel bridge, through some technical and challenging corners, and then back onto the straight/finish straight.

Learn more about Yas Marina with the Pocket F1 Handbook.