After a lacklustre season final in 2020, Yas Marina chiefs have worked hard to revamp its circuit layout which it felt did not allow current F1 cars to race properly.
With work due to start in the summer on the overhaul, the changes to the venue are focused on three key areas of the track.
* At the hairpin section, the chicane before it will be removed – with the width of the track in this area will also being opened up to allow multiple racing lines and potentially more passing opportunities.
* At the end of the second back straight, the tight and twisty complex of bends are being removed completely and replaced with a high speed and wide banked corner.
* Finally, at the hotel section, the corners that run around here are being opened up so it becomes faster and more flowing.
Saif Al Noaimi, acting CEO of the Abu Dhabi F1 promoters, said that the aim of the changes was simply to help improve overtaking opportunities – something which had been lacking in the past.
“We’ve listened to the spectators and fans, and we’ve listened to the teams and the drivers,” he explained. “We’ve built these modifications, taking into consideration the feedback that we have received.
“Ultimately, our objective is to create more overtaking opportunities, closer wheel to wheel racing and a faster, free flowing circuit.”
Al Noaimi hoped that the banked corner will especially stand out as something special, as he labelled it potentially ‘iconic’.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said the sport’s bosses had welcomed the changes, which he hoped would help produce more entertainment for fans.
“It has been an incredible season so far, and we are looking forward to be there with the new layout to the track, which for sure will give the opportunity to the drivers to maximise the show,” he said.
Last year, the previous Abu Dhabi layout came in for criticism from team bosses and drivers after it produced a lack of excitement at the final race.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said at the time: “The amount of messages I got during the race with the sleeping emoji, it was the most I ever got.
“I think we need to look [at it]. It’s very difficult to follow in the wake in Abu Dhabi. It’s a fantastic venue, the infrastructure is like no other, and spectacular.
“But like we saw with Alonso and Petrov [in 2010], it’s just so difficult to overtake, even if the car is slow in front of you.”