Abu Dhabi GP: Preview - Pirelli

07/12/2021
NEWS STORY

The longest-ever Formula 1 season concludes with its 22nd race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. After two new venues in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Yas Marina circuit is a more familiar challenge - although the track has been quite significantly modified this year. Nonetheless, based on simulation and other data, the same tyre compounds have been nominated as in 2020: the C3 as the P Zero White hard, C4 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C5 as the P Zero Red soft.

The changes to the track, which have been designed to provide more overtaking opportunities, will increase speeds and loads through some corners. However, as the circuit will still be smooth, with average stress on the tyres in terms of wear and degradation, the three softest compounds in the P Zero range remain a suitable choice.

Track Characteristics

Several changes have been introduced to the circuit layout, which was previously unaltered since its debut in 2009. Early in the lap, the chicane that formed Turns 5 and 6 will be bypassed with a straight. The following hairpin has been brought forward and widened, increasing the speed carried onto the subsequent straight. A long and slightly banked turn has been created to replace the technical complex of corners (Turns 11-14) that existed previously. Near the end of the lap, the four tight corners that route the track around the Yas Marina hotel (Turns 17-20) have all been opened up and made faster.

These changes have shortened the circuit by 273 metres, which means the race distance has been increased from 55 to 58 laps and lap times will fall by an estimated 14 seconds.

As usual, the race will begin just before sunset and run into darkness, with track temperatures falling quite quickly: in turn affecting tyre behaviour. FP2 and qualifying are the only two relevant sessions, with the other two free practices run in the heat of the day.

Last year's winning strategy, with the same tyre nomination, was a medium to hard one-stopper: the same tactic used by all the top three. Only three drivers stopped more than once, and it was the sixth consecutive time that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had been won from pole.

There will be two days of post-season testing on Tuesday and Wednesday after the grand prix. On both days teams will be able to test the new 18-inch 2022 tyres, while they have to choose just one of the two days for the test dedicated to young drivers using 13-inch tyres.

Mario Isola: "The Yas Marina circuit is a familiar venue for the final race of the year, but the modifications to the track will provide a new twist and promises to give us an exciting conclusion to what has been a thrilling season. This will be the first time we face the new configuration, including some areas with new asphalt, but we have been able to rely on simulations and other information in advance to prepare. In general, with the creation of some quicker turns, the track is now faster and with more overtaking opportunities. The result of these changes are bigger vertical loads, especially on the front tyres. But we don't expect the overall severity for the tyres to change significantly, which is why we've nominated the softest tyres in the range. After the race, the teams will have the chance to test with the final specification of 18-inch tyres for 2022 using mule cars. The first time we'll see the definitive package of new tyres with 2022 cars in action will be during pre-season testing next year at the end of February."

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Published: 07/12/2021
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