After some 3 hours drive time, the new Yas Marina circuit in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has drawn the plaudits from the drivers.
The circuit is one of the most exciting new projects to hit the F1 calendar, and its proving a firm favourite with the fans too if Twitter and Facebook comments are to be believed. Its sweeping, fast nature but some hard corners are showing that the race could be very close indeed.
The Hermann Tilke design bandwagon has certainly got back on track here.
Nico Rosberg commented; “There is no criticism. I think they have done a very good job. It is an interesting track and every corner is unique.”
Former World Champion Fernando Alonso added to Rosberg’s praise “There are some good parts of the track, like the first sector, high-speed corners, and then the last sector is a combination of very similar corners – always 90 degrees. But you enjoy it because there is always something to do on the track. There is no time to breathe.”
Adrian Sutil also praised the lighting system, commenting it felt more like a night race than Singapore.
However the tunnel exit to the pitlane is causing some controversy, with near misses and concern over an accident becoming more apparent. Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella said on the subject;
“It is very difficult and a little bit dangerous. If there is an accident with two cars, I don’t know if there is a space to go through. I guess we will see if there is an incident.”
I must say, representing The F1Fanatics Blog I think it’s a terrific circuit, finally a decent new track. It is like Valencia, or at least how Valencia should have been. It makes Singapore look almost amateur, and with the cool evening daylight/nightime effect I think F1 is on to a winner.
Heikki Kovalainen showed his best sign yet of trying to cling with both hands to his McLaren seat for 2010 with a startling performance in FP2 on the new Abu Dhabi F1 circuit.
The Finn was some 2 tenths faster than team mate Lewis Hamilton as the chrome McLaren’s dominated the second practice session.
Kimi Raikkonen gained some hope for Ferrari with 10th, while Robert Kubica’s day ended with flames as his BMW engine gave up.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:41.307 35 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:41.504 + 0.197 34 3. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:41.541 + 0.234 39 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:41.591 + 0.284 37 5. Kobayashi Toyota (B) 1:41.636 + 0.329 34 6. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:41.683 + 0.376 37 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:41.684 + 0.377 34 8. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:41.831 + 0.524 38 9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:41.931 + 0.624 39 10. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:41.987 + 0.680 39 11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:42.180 + 0.873 28 12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:42.245 + 0.938 36 13. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:42.278 + 0.971 36 14. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:42.409 + 1.102 30 15. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:42.530 + 1.223 33 16. Alonso Renault (B) 1:42.782 + 1.475 29 17. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:42.932 + 1.625 37 18. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:43.021 + 1.714 37 19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:43.022 + 1.715 39 20. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:43.708 + 2.401 13
Timo Glock looks set to make a racing return in Abu Dhabi for the final round of the 2009 Season after injuring himself in a ualifying horror shunt at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Glock stuffed his TF109 into the barriers just before the main straight at the legendary Suzuka circuit, missing the Grand Prix before being substituted for the Brazilian race by Kamui Kobayashi.
However Glock is hopeful he will join the team again, and his doctor has told F1-Live that he has a “90% chance of racing”.
An official announcement will be made tomorrow.
The Abu Dhabi Circuit, named the “Yas Marina Circuit” has had plans unveiled today in lavish ceremony.
The track will span around a beautiful marina, have 100% covered stands and a hotel spanning the entire track.
Another oasis in the desert like Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain, this middle Eastern circuit is certain to be brilliant.
“Yas Marina Circuit took over my life more than a year ago, and now I’m very proud that Abu Dhabi can present one of the most sophisticated Formula One race tracks in the world,” said Philippe Gurdjian, CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management.
“A hotel which spans the track, a marina with a beautiful yacht club, and with grandstands which are 100% completely covered – this has never been seen before.”
His Excellency Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of ADMM, added: “Yas Marina Circuit represents a significant investment in leading edge sporting infrastructure.
“It is a state-of-the-art piece of engineering, design and construction. The circuit and its surrounding footprint join an expanding collection of home-grown initiatives that will positively change the shape of Abu Dhabi in the months and years ahead.
“It has therefore been conceived, designed, and is currently being built according to the particular needs and features of the city in which it will belong.”
Abu Dhabi will debut as the final round of the 2009 season.
Etihad Airlines, the title sponsor of the forthomcing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009 have decked a plane out in the race colours.
The plane, an Airbus A320, is finished in all black. It then features a red F1 car blasting forwards in the fashion of this years F1 posters, surrounded by “Etihad Airlines Abu Dhabi GP”. The plane also has F1 logos on the engines.
It was spotted at an airport in Abu Dhabi, by a plane spotter who subsequently uploaded it to the flying group JetPhotos of whom the photo is copyrighted.
“With preparations for the inaugural 2009 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix well underway we are delighted to raise awareness of the race through our own F1-themed aircraft,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad’s executive vice-president marketing and product.