F1 confirms major changes to Abu Dhabi track for season finale

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has confirmed details of changes to the Yas Marina which are being made for this year’s season finale.

As RaceFans revealed on Monday, two major changes to the circuit are being made to remove several slow corners. These include the deletion of a chicane at turns five and six, and replacing turns 11 to 14 with a long, slightly banked left-hand turn.

A sequence of slow bends which leads drivers underneath the track’s distinctive hotel, turns 17 to 20, will also be eased. The revision to turn 20, the penultimate corner on the circuit, is expected to make it a flat-out corner for Formula 1 cars.

It is the first major changes to the purpose-built circuit which was introduced to the Formula 1 calendar in 2009. It is due to hold this year’s season finale on December 12th.

The acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, Saif Al Noaimi, said the alternations will be completed in time for what could be this year’s championship-deciding race.

Artist's impression: Changes to Yas Marina circuit for 2021
Analysis: Will Yas Marina’s three key changes put an end to F1’s follow-my-leader finales?
“This programme, which represents a hugely important chapter in the Yas Marina circuit story, will involve work being carried out in three separate sections of the track, increasing the opportunity for drivers to overtake and amplifying the competitive nature of all motorsport events held at the venue.”

“Work will take place over the summer, with completion expected well in advance of this year’s Formula 1 Eithad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and we look forward to showcasing our new-look track to motorsport fans both locally and internationally in the coming months.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “F1 confirms major changes to Abu Dhabi track for season finale”

  1. At the begin of the pandemic F1 had to adapt itself to survive. They did it superbly, being one of the only global sporting events to even happen last year.
    Since then it seems they really embraced this new philosophy and we see adaptations that would never have happened before, or would have taken ages to be decided. For better or for worse? I think so far so good!

    1. I agree. Monaco next please 🤘🏽

    2. Yeah, maybe the fact that F1 really showed they were willing to talk with the tracks to find the best way to get them on the calendar, if at all possible, also meant that the atmosphere to talk about these kind of things (not to mention F1 itself having a team of people who actually understand something about the cars and they have some budget for studying effects) brings forward sensible changes instead of just newer flashier pit buildings.

  2. I like the changes, although penultimate corner I don’t mind as much as it was already high-speed. At least nearly flat out, if not entirely. The overall lap flow will definitely improve regardless of racing impact.

  3. Next stop: Sochi.
    Try to fix the grey wasteland with the infinite 90° corners and we’ll know you mean business…

    1. To be honest, I would rather we just stop going to Russia altogether @black. Not sure they can actually make something decent out of that track.

      1. Maybe they could tear down a few buildings, make a big car lot and then do a Miami.

      2. @bascb Although Russia is not a beacon of “human rights” around the world, it is one of the biggest countres on Earth population-wise. Racing there makes more ‘sense’ than racing in Azerbaijan, Bahrain or Hungary for example (coincidentally also countries with poor human rights record).
        It’s just Sochi is so… boring! At least Abu Dhabi looks good, Sochi just looks like a car park around abandoned olympic park. And it’s not even a good racetrack, aside from the good Turn 3, the rest are a mix of forgettable 90° corners and that weird Turn 2 chicane that everyone hates.
        Either move the Russian GP somewhere else (like Igora Drive in St.Petersburg), or at least try to fix Sochi… there are some suggestions online that actually improve the track.

        1. Yes, my comment was (mainly) targetted at my feeling that there is no real fix I can see for Sochi whithout completely redoing it @black.

          I think it might be unrealistic to expect the race venue to move since Putin seems quite keen to have it where it is. And he is paying enough to avoid anyone being likely to want to argue that point. Also, I doubt anyone in Russia would come up with a competing bid for that unless there was a really strong reason to move it. Sadly being just a completely forgettable race track does not figure on the list of reasons.

          As you mention, Abu Dhabi at least looks stunning. And while it took ages, at least they seem interested in actually making the improvements to be able to offer fans a good experience.

  4. Next up: Codemasters to seriously do the changes.

  5. I don’t think we’ll see the first sector chicane completely disappear altogether, as they need it for the WRX Circuit, so I imagine the new F1 hairpin will just bypass it.

    Other than that, great.

  6. I wonder what Alonso might think about it. Even from the first race in 2009 it was clear the track was dreadfull. Had they reacted immediately and change it for 2010 he may had found a way past Petrov…

    1. He did not deserve to win the title that year anyway. Neither did Webber.

  7. I remember back when Bernie responded to criticism of the circuit layout in 2009 by saying ‘it’s the greatest racing track that’s ever been built.’

    While I find a lot to criticise about the current F1 management and FIA, I’m glad they aren’t run by greedy, cynical trolls like Bernie anymore.

    Now to just get Michael Masi out of the picture…

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