Yas Marina ‘trying to address feedback from fans’ with track changes

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In the round-up: Yas Marina’s extensive track changes to improve racing were driven, in a major part, by fan feedback according to circuit management.

In brief

Driver feedback and fan response key to changes at Yas Marina

Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management deputy CEO Saif Al Noaimi discussed the changes being made to the Yas Marina in yesterday’s Blackbook Motorsport Virtual Conference. Three areas of the track are being extensively overhauled ahead of this year’s season-closing grand prix.

“We wanted to look at an evolution of the racetrack, look at ways in which we can enhance the on-track racing and the excitement for the drivers and for the fans,” explained Al Noaimi. “We’re currently going through the the first real changes to the track since it was it was initially built.

“Essentially it’s taking feedback from the drivers, the teams, but most importantly, from the fans and the spectators and trying to address some of their feedback.”

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?
Abu Dhabi held F1’s most recent final-round championship shown in 2016 and Al Noaimi said they are hoping the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen goes the distance again this year.

“We’re really excited to to have the new track ready ahead of this year’s grand prix. And we’re hoping for some close wheel to wheel racing and also hoping for a championship decider.”

Frederick to miss Spa F3 round

Frederick had been in an intense recovery process, following an injury to his hand during race two in Austria which had already seen him sit out races in Hungary. Having now tested positive for COVID-19, Carlin announced that Frederick will once again miss out on the Belgian F3 round, and the team will only run two cars.

“I’m absolutely heartbroken,” said Ferederick. “Aside from being painful, the injury in Austria was such a blow as it meant I would miss Hungary. Thinking about being back for Spa really helped push me through the surgery and physio, all of which was designed to accelerate my recovery.

“To now have tested positive for Covid-19 is just agonising. I don’t feel too bad, so I’ll just be sitting at home, but it will be awful to see everyone out in Spa without me.”

Charouz replace two-thirds of F3 line-up

American F4 champion Yeany is heading to F3
There will be two other changes on the F3 grid this weekend, both at Charouz. The team has replaced Enzo Fittipaldi and Reshad de Gerus with Hunter Yeany and Zdenek Chovanec for the Belgian round of Formula 3.

The 16-year-old Yeany, reigning American F4 champion, will see out the season with the Czech outfit. Chovanec has raced in Italian and UAE F4, but like Yeany has never raced in an F3-spec series before.

Charouz are currently third in the F3 teams’ championship, with their 60-point haul earned by remaining driver Logan Sargeant, on 35 and Fittipaldi, who had scored 25 at the halfway point in the season. Sargeant is currently 13th in the championship, Fittipaldi 14th.

Electric lap record broken at Zolder

ERA Championship, a new, all-electric junior series focussed on both engineering and driver development, have used their championship car to set a new lap record for cars of the type around Zolder.

Driven by Xavier Maassen, who held the previous electric record around the former home of the Belgian Grand Prix, the F4-style ‘Mitsu-Bachi’ set a 1’38.81, shattering the four-year-old former record by 3.8 seconds.

ERA Championship will hold its inaugural season in 2022, having been in development since 2019.

Powell: W Series podium representation important to encourage LGBT community in racing

W Series title contender Alice Powell said standing on the series’ first podium of the year alongside openly gay racer Sarah Moore was “a real standout moment and hopefully for many young people to have seen Sarah on the podium.”

Powell said the visibility of Moore’s success – the first ‘out’ driver to stand on a podium over a grand prix weekend – was key to encouraging more LGBT racers. “She managed to get some great pictures with the pride flag as well, her trophy, and blasted them out all on social media.

“I hope that just gives a lot of young people encouragement and belief that they can go out there and achieve their dreams. I think it’s a shame that it has to take someone to do this, to stand on the podium for people to believe, they should be able to believe anyway. It’s really important that we really try and showcase these special moments.”

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On this day in motorsport

Piquet won at Istanbul while Hamilton raced from fifth to second today in 2006
  • 15 years ago today Nelson Piquet Jnr won the GP2 feature race at Istanbul Park, closing within six points of championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who came second

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 30 comments on “Yas Marina ‘trying to address feedback from fans’ with track changes”

    1. The article about Amazon and the F1 video archive makes no mention of it having any ties to F1TV… it appears to be solely for the use of the F1 broadcast teams.

      1. I kept reading and reading, holding out hope that this new sorting would lead to races from the 50s, 60s, and 70s would now be available in the F1TV archives (similar to what appears after ’81). Alas, it does not appear so.

        1. The thing with stuff before 1981 is that they don’t own the rights to it.

          FOM own the rights to everything shot within the boundaries of a race track during a GP race weekend from 1981 onwards as that is when Bernie started including the TV rights in the commercial deals. They have everything from 1981 to today in the Biggin Hill vault.

          Everything before 1981 is complicated as the TV rights deals were done for each race individually meaning that who owns what isn’t always known. In some cases it’s own by each individual broadcaster who aired it, Others are owned by the circuit promoter from the time, Sometimes it’s a private individual who helped organise the deal, Sometimes it’s the host broadcaster who shot the footage, Sometimes it’s owned by a third party company who at some point brought the rights to a tape library which included F1 footage & at times nobody knows who owns it.

          A few years ago they brought access to the Brunswick archive which does include 2-3 full race tapes from the 70s but which is mostly full of archival footage which was used for race/season highlights/reviews. The reviews that are on F1TV from 1970-1980 are from the Brunswich archive for instance.

          Doing individual deals (Potentially hundreds) to get access to all the footage available simply wouldn’t be viable. It’s something Bernie looked at doing 20-ish years ago as he wanted the tape library to include everything but it very quickly became obvious it was easier said than done even when you have somebody as good at making deals as Bernie was.

        2. According to the Chief Engineer and Director of Data Systems at F1, one Rob Smedley (yes, that Rob Smedley) –
          “On a simpler level, although fans won’t have direct access to the complete archive of footage themselves, it will become easier for media covering the races to create engaging video products that gesture back to the history of the sport. The archive could also feasibly create opportunities for new and more comprehensive documentaries covering Formula 1.”

          Not for the plebs…

      2. @x1znet

        It will be years before any direct selectable access will be available to the public. There’s simply too much to categorize and then index it into a accessible data directory. The undertaking must be insanely huge, there’s only so many human eye balls and hands that can be provided to help the undertaking while keeping costs within reason. It’s not just computers doing the work and the scale is massive.
        Then add on top of it creating a network separate to F1 mass private library at AWS to be accessible to the paid public. I’m sure after the data collection archiving and sorting, it will only be available to production professionals to then create content for F1 fans to see. It will come but not as soon as you like and probably not at the scale you would like.

    2. At last! Maybe now the Yas race will be more bearable to watch! Used to be so anticlimactic to have last race there. The better would be to bulldoze everything and start from scratch, but I’m glad that they are finally getting rid of these awful corners.

    3. 12 years too ate, Abu Dhabi…

      1. They say they listen. After 12 years I find that hard to believe. Besides, I reckon the chicane at the end of the 2nd drs straight was most likely changed for safety reasons.

        1. It wasn’t :)

          1. @ecwdanselby Indeed. Otherwise, the change would’ve been done earlier.

    4. Nice to hear from a track owner who’s willing to listen and figure out a way to improve the track to make the racing better.

      F1 cars have become so long, heavy and wide that a lot tracks are no longer capable offering passing opportunities for these bigger cars like they use to 10 years ago. A WEC LMP Le Mans car is 20% shorter than the current F1 car, The length of the current F1 car is now approx. the same length as a Ford F150 pickup. I think a F1 car from 20 years ago could fit in the bed of a pickup?

      I have no idea what they plan to do or if it will work but I certainly hope track owners figure out ways to increase passing during a race and avoid parades that we’ve been seeing more often. If they can improve tracks that allows more passing then I think F1’s popularity will go up?

      Watching F1 racing at Yas was very disappointing and like mentioned above, boring (like Monaco) so hopefully that’s in the past.

      1. @redpill no, a car from 20 years ago would not even be remotely close to fitting in the bed of a pick up truck, as they are quite a bit bigger than you seem to think they were – an F150 seems to have a maximum bed length of about 2.5m, whereas an F1 car from 20 years ago would be more like 4.5-4.7m in length.

    5. Powell said the visibility of Moore’s success – the first ‘out’ driver to stand on a podium over a grand prix weekend – was key to encouraging more LGBT racers.

      Who cares about the sexual orientation of a racer? You’re either fast or you’re not. Orientation has nothing to do with it.

      1. Bring back grid girls eh. Proper expression of sexuality that, the right kind. Don’t want to have to think about the Different People.

        1. @hazelsouthwell

          He didn’t mention grid girls at all, so you are just debating a straw man, rather than debating what he actually says.

          And a lesbian driver would get the same enjoyment out of grid girls as a hetero male driver, so your entire argument doesn’t make sense anyway.

          1. @aapje thanks for explaining gay women to me, that’s very helpful. I only am one.

            1. @hazelsouthwell

              Still not actually addressing the argument.

            2. @aapje Oh I’m so sorry let me just explain straight men to you…

              The point was that there have always been elements of sexuality in F1, that the majority of drivers do not hide theirs and yet with the statistically abysmally low presence of LGBT people in the sport, they’re either being turned off from entering, excluded or forced to hide. So if we say people can’t have a moment of pride on the podium – when you represent many things, from country to team to sponsors – then we’re choosing who’s allowed to display their sexuality.

              It is not that sexuality has been absent, it’s that it’s been the one that’s normalised. So now we talk about other ones, it’s not a case of bringing it up where it has never been present it’s just diversifying what’s displayed.

            3. @hazelsouthwell

              I never even explained lesbians, I just referred to their sexuality. That you keep harping on this false claim of yours is quite absurd. You seem more interesting in dunking on me, rather than having an actual conversation/debate.

              The point was that there have always been elements of sexuality in F1. […] So if we say people can’t have a moment of pride on the podium – when you represent many things, from country to team to sponsors – then we’re choosing who’s allowed to display their sexuality.

              Unlike cycling, where podium girls kiss the winner, F1 never had this tradition. I can’t remember any driver demonstrating his sexuality on the podium. However, Moore wasn’t even expressing her sexuality, but her activism, so your entire comparison is false.

              A proper comparison would be if (hetero) drivers would do activism for conservative sexual practices on the podium, but has that ever happened? And would you accept it if they did? Judging by how intolerant people with your beliefs tend to be to opposing activism, I doubt it.

              I just see a demand for special privilege, but in a dishonest way, by pretending that others had already been behaving the same, when that is just false.

              it’s that it’s been the one that’s normalised.

              That’s the logical result of 97+% of people being heterosexual. The word ‘normal’ literally refers to something being “usual, typical, or expected.”

              I understand why you prefer to believe that what is normal is purely determined by culture, rather than being substantially determined by biology, because accepting reality means that you will have to accept that you can’t get the Utopia you want, where homosexuality is just as normal as heterosexuality. However, denying reality just means that your activism will fail at best and at worst, will descend into horrible oppression, as you try to force an impossible Utopia on people (which typically has terrible outcomes).

            4. @aapje Wanting to exist is not – or shouldn’t be – activism.

              Moore’s moment on the podium was to celebrate her achievement in a race. If it offends you so severely to see a lesbian on the podium that you believe this is an act of genuine defiance then you are prejudiced and unable to accept your own prejudices being challenged.

              Why Moore’s podium was meaningful was to people who were, because of who she is, finally represented and able to see themselves.

              And I think you can probably go and revisit James Hunt if you think no one was ever openly heterosexual in F1. Goodness me, you really do tie yourself in knots at the concept of anyone speaking about anything that isn’t about your views.

            5. @hazelsouthwell

              Wanting to exist is not – or shouldn’t be – activism.

              Why do you keep using these nonsensical cliches, rather than actual arguments? I understand that this is considered meaningful in your circles, but it makes no sense at all.

              If it offends you so severely to see a lesbian on the podium

              And why can’t you just be respectful of others, rather than accuse me of such things? You have removed quite a few of my posts that you deemed to be disrespectful, but you don’t hold yourself to the same standard, as you regularly accuse others falsely, like you do here.

              I addressed the activism on the podium, not whether a lesbian should be on the podium.

              I guess that I do have to explain to you that being a lesbian is about being attracted to women, not having a compulsive need to do activism. I recognize that it is normal in your circles to equate activism to being accepted/included, but this is a rather nonsensical part of your ideology.

              By that standard, hetero drivers are not accepted since they don’t engage in hetero activism on the podium. If we apply your arguments equally, that would thus be evidence of oppression. Apparently, hetero drivers are being forced to hide their sexuality…right? After all, that’s what you conclude when gay people don’t get to wave their flags or such.

              Why Moore’s podium was meaningful was to people who were, because of who she is, finally represented and able to see themselves.

              Don’t you understand that your belief that this is normal and good, is entirely inconsistent with expecting such groups to have sufficient roles models and the same opportunities?

              After all, if a lesbian person can only feel ‘represented and see themselves’ in a lesbian driver, but less than 1% of people are lesbian, then this person will inevitably encounter a dearth of role models. Not because of discrimination, but simply because there aren’t enough to be represented everywhere.

              And it goes further, because if you can only market this driver to less than 1% of the population, that puts the driver way behind drivers with more popularity.

              Fortunately, your beliefs are false, as we see that a driver like Lewis is extremely popular among white people. However, your ideology is extremely toxic as it encourages people to judge others based on certain traits, even when that is irrelevant to the situation. In fact, the entire idea of being blind to such differences when they don’t matter is commonly mocked as being hateful.

              So your activism is actually making things worse. We should be doing the opposite by discouraging people to feel that a trait that merely impacts a part of their life is relevant everywhere and completely separates them from others.

      2. Yeah because what the world has obviously been clamoring for is more LGBT racers. The only thing they would want more is colored or disabled ones. Clearly a headline story this..

    6. Robin Miller, one of the best people reporting for years.
      vaya con dios…

    7. Have to say a big Thank you to Robin Miller for sharing his dedication, passion, knowledge and energy of motor sports for us fans to enjoy! RIP Robin

    8. While not unexpected, I’m still saddened by the loss of Robin Miller.

      tbh I wasn’t aware of his significance to US open-wheel motorsport until I started reading his articles around 6-7 years ago. I don’t think I’m underselling his stature in saying that he was to Indycar journalism as Murray Walker was to F1 broadcasting.

      A big loss to motorsport. Rest in Peace Robin.

    9. Zach (@zakspeedf1team)
      26th August 2021, 8:26

      Disappointed they didn’t listen to my feedback to just scrap the Abu Dhabi GP altogether.

      1. @zakspeedf1team I’d rather scrap Brazil, Monaco, Spain (can happen), and Hungary than Abu Dhabi.

    10. RIP.

      I’m sure Tsunoda is still safe for next season, given he’s a rookie, so errors are more forgivable, but staying beyond next season is another matter if he doesn’t improve.

    11. Re Yas Marina: And they listened.
      Re Charouz F3: I didn’t mind Reshad de Gerus being replaced, but Enzo Fittipaldi?
      R.I.P. Robin Miller.

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