Yas Island Marina Circuit

Coordinates: 24°28′02″N 54°36′11″E / 24.46722°N 54.60306°E / 24.46722; 54.60306

The Yas Marina Circuit is the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke, and is situated on Yas Island, about 30 minutes from the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. Yas Marina is the second Formula One track in the Middle East, with the first being in Bahrain. A two day GP2 Asia Series test was held to officially open the circuit, which was held a week before the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It will also host the opening event for the Australian V8 Supercars series, the Yas V8 400, in February 2010.

Design

Designed as an Arabian version of Monaco, the twenty-one corners twists through the man made island off the Abu Dhabi coast, passing by the marina and through the Yas Marina Hotel designed and conceived of by New York based architects Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, Asymptote Architecture, and winding its way through sand dunes, with several long straights and tight corners.

The marina-based development includes a theme park, a water park, as well as residential areas, hotels and beaches.

The circuit has five grandstand areas (Main Grandstand, West Grandstand, North Grandstand, South Grandstand and Marina Grandstand (aka Support) and part of its pit lane exit runs underneath the track. It also houses a team building behind the pit building, Media Center, Dragster Track, VIP Tower and Ferrari World Theme Park. Additionally, one of the gravel traps runs underneath the West grandstand.

The circuit has few potential overtaking spots. From turns 2, 3, 4 down to 5 will be a good place as a car which has good speed out of Turn 4 could get beside a fellow driver and outbrake them. After turn 7 the second longest straight on the Formula One calendar (after the Korean GP) is ended with a heavy braking chicane at turn 8. Finally the long curve down to turn 11 as the potential for overtaking. The pit exit of circuit runs under the actual track through a tunnel. Also, part of the track runs through one of the on site hotels.

  • Seating Capacity – 41,093
  • Area – 161.9 ha
  • Length – 5.5 km
Construction

The circuit was built by main contractor Cebarco-WCT WLL, under contract from developer Aldar Properties. Among the sub-contractors involved were KOH AH HING from Malaysia (Structural contractor), as well as specialised subcontractors; Voltas (MEP), PKE-Siemens (MEP), Able-Middle East (Earthworks), Hamilton International (Interior), Bau Bickhardt (Track) and Unger Steel (Steel structure).

The circuit was constructed with a permanent lighting system provided by Musco Lighting, similar to that also installed at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. Yas Marina Circuit is the largest permanent sports venue lighting project in the world; previously that title was held by Losail.

The surface of the track is made of Graywacke aggregate, shipped to Abu Dhabi from Bayston Hill quarry in Shropshire, England. The surface material is highly acclaimed by circuit bosses and Formula 1 drivers for the high level of grip it offers. The same aggregate material is used at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

On 7 October 2009, the circuit was granted final approval to hold Formula One races by the FIA.Bruno Senna was the first driver to complete a test run on the circuit.

Reception

After the first practice sessions at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the circuit was welcomed by the drivers, with Nico Rosberg commenting that every corner was 'unique', while double World Champion Fernando Alonso echoed his sentiments, stating that it was enjoyable because there was always something to do. Force India's Adrian Sutil rated the circuit as being better than Formula One's other night race in Singapore as he felt there was too much light at Marina Bay.

Not all of the drivers were complimentary, with Giancarlo Fisichella expressing a particular dislike of the pit exit, which dips under the main circuit by way of a tunnel. Although the pit exit remained free of incidents for the early practice sessions, Fisichella claimed that it was both very difficult and dangerous.

The circuit came under much criticism from drivers following the 2010 race for a lack of suitable overtaking opportunites, despite the lack of high speed corners, which cause the cars to spread out somewhat. Fernando Alonso was unable to pass Vitaly Petrov for much of the race, with Mark Webber also remaining behind Alonso. The organisers were urged to modify the circuit for the 2011 race, in order to create more legitimate overtaking opportunities. While initially agreeing to make changes, organizers have since postponed any changes following the massive increase in overtaking seen in the 2011 Formula One season caused by new tire strategies and the DRS & KERS Systems.

Media

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