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Abu Dhabi 2012 - Race information - Everything you need to know about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Published by Christine

The second half of the season is packed with back to back races, and thus we have only just seen off the Indian Grand Prix before we are looking ahead to the racing in Abu Dhabi. The Yas Marina circuit is not fabled for its exciting racing, more for the impressive infrastructure around it, but whatever is delivered, it should be a different experience to last weekend.

Event schedule

We were almost faced with a situation of Sebastian Vettel securing every single accolade available in India - fastest in all three practice sessions, pole position, the race victory and oh... no, wait, it was Jenson Button that snatched the fastest lap of the race at the very last minute. It was a McLaren that won in Yas Marina last season, but the Red Bull was dangerously fast there before a surprising retirement. Thus, you would be crazy to bet on anyone else than Sebastian Vettel to do well this weekend - but this is Formula One, and anything can happen.

Session Timetable
2 NovFridayFree Practice 109:0013:00
Free Practice 213:0017:00
3 NovSaturdayFree Practice 310:0014:00
4 NovSundayGrand Prix13:0017:00

Support racing for this event includes Australian V8 Supercars.

The weather

It won't surprise you to know that there is nothing but sunshine predicted for the upcoming weekend in Abu Dhabi - although there's a little bit of cloud forecast for Saturday. The temperatures will be soaring, and the chance of rain is set at 0% through all three days.


Yas Island, Friday


  • Low 22℃
  • Humidity 50%

Sunny days


Yas Island, Saturday


  • Low 22℃
  • Humidity 55%

Sunny days


Yas Island, Sunday


  • Low 22℃
  • Humidity 55%

Sunny days

Circuit map

Sidepodcast image
DRS Zones
DRS detection 140m before turn 7
DRS activation 1390m after turn 7
DRS detection 250m after turn 9
DRS activation 2Apex of turn 10

For the second weekend in a row, we have double DRS to contend with. The first zone occurs down the enormously long back straight, whilst the second is just after it. Naturally, Yas Marina could use all the help it can get when it comes to overtaking, but with two zones placed as they are, there's the possibility of drivers able to overtake for position, then the second place drive to get back in front again almost straight away.

It also means that all the action is centred on one part of the circuit, and if there's an incident in that area then you're more likely to see yellow flags, with Race Control disabling DRS whilst things get back in order.

The circuit

Circuit Data
NameYas Marina Circuit
LocationYas Island
TimezoneGMT +0400
First Race2009
Length5.554 km
Distance305.355 km
Start / Finish Offset0.115 km

Although the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the Yas Marina circuit is the changing colours of the overlooking hotel, there's also a track there with plenty to say for itself. The race is set at a strange afternoon/twilight time so that there's a mix of drivers struggling with the sun in their eyes, turning to dealing with shadows which then gradually turns into a completely floodlit environment.

Yas Marina sends the drivers in an anti-clockwise direction, with high speed corners to begin to the lap, with some long straights in the middle, and some slower sections at the very end. The heat adds an extra challenge for the drivers, but it will be the tyre temperatures that cause the most difference. As the race drifts towards night, the track temperatures will fall and that will have a massive impact on the strategy choices.

Meanwhile, the track at Abu Dhabi has not undergone any significant changes since last year, with just some kerbing being looked at. Particularly in the latter half of the circuit, the kerbs have been raised to match those at eight and nine.

2011 Results
Free Practice 1Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:40.263Live / Results
Free Practice 2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1:39.586Live / Results
Free Practice 3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1:38.976Live / Results
QualifyingSebastian VettelRed Bull1:38.481Live / Results
Grand PrixLewis HamiltonMcLaren1:37:11.886Live / Results
Fastest LapMark WebberRed Bull1:42.612

Tyre compounds

Medium and soft compounds
Medium and soft compounds

Pirelli have done some testing around the Abu Dhabi circuit a few times, so they know what to expect from the Yas Marina track. For this race, Pirelli have brought the medium compound (white sidewalls) and the soft compound (yellow sidewalls) which they are hoping will work best on the smooth and fast surface. They're also expecting tyre wear to be relatively low, so we could be in for another race where one-stop strategies play a part. Although, as mentioned earlier, the dropping track temperatures will play a significant part.

We know that the combination of the medium and the soft tyre works extremely well here, and with the teams also having plenty of data about the circuit characteristics, they should be in a strong position to construct some race strategies that will make a real difference to the outcome of the weekend.

- Paul Hembery

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
Thursday15:00Jenson ButtonMcLaren
Kamui KobayashiSauber
Felipe MassaFerrari
Vitaly PetrovCaterham
Charles PicMarussia
Dainel RicciardoToro Rosso
Friday19:00Ross BrawnMercedes
Antonio CuquerellaHRT
Pat FryFerrari
Andrew GreenForce India
Remi TaffinRenault Sport
SaturdayPost qualifyingThree fastest drivers
SundayPost raceFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process was changed last year to include a former F1 driver to give added insight. These are the stewards overseeing this weekend's action.

F1 Stewards
Lars ÖsterlindFIA World Council Member
Radovan NovakSecretary General of the ACCR
Derek WarwickFormer F1 driver and World Sportscar Champion

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