Now, this comes from the official Formula One site, so don’t be surprised when the comments are all glowing and excited. But there are a few points worth noting about the Abu Dhabi circuit that F1 drivers will take to for the first time on Friday:
1. A few wide corners could provide overtaking chances (we saw that at turn 1 of Brazil)
2. The elevation changes make for some blind moments
3. There could be some traction issues in the corner—who has Grosjean as first out after a spin?
Here’s the release . Reminder, as I said, it’s via F1 so it is more positive than Bernie after a bath in his moneytub:
The first time the Formula One drivers will experience the newly-built Yas Marina Circuit will be during Friday’s opening practice session for this weekend’s inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Their GP2 Asia colleagues, however, are one step ahead, after 23 of them got the chance to sample the new venue on Friday and Saturday at a two-day test, a week before its public opening. As well as the Grand Prix, Yas Marina will also host the opening two rounds of the new GP2 Asia season next weekend.
Organisers believed the test would be an ideal opportunity to evaluate the circuit’s operating systems and services before the Grand Prix gets underway. And after enjoying their first outing, the GP2 Asia drivers were quick to praise the venue and its facilities.
“The combination of the layout features some very fast corners, very slow corners, and a mixture between the long straights,” said DAMS’ Christian Vietoris, runner-up in the 2009 Formula Three Euro Series.
“It looks very promising in terms of a racing show. It’s my first time in Abu Dhabi, it’s nice and sunny. I have a smile on my face, and when you see this very nice track you will understand why.”
Vietoris’s DAMS team mate Edoardo Piscopo was equally enthralled, saying: “It’s very exciting to race here as it is an incredible venue. It will be challenging, a drivers’ track, there are some nice corners, very wide so we should be able to pass each other. Everything is amazing, everything is new. In these difficult times it is great to be in a place that is so positive.”
As well as clearly enjoying their runs on the track, the GP2 Asia drivers also relished the circuit’s distinctive challenges, which tested their driving skills to their limits.
“The track has fast corners, slow corners like a street circuit, long straights, and is hard on brakes,” explained Barwa Addax driver Luiz Razia. “My first impression was very good. You can feel the elevation changes. Going uphill and you can’t see anything and then downhill you see a great view, albeit like a flash.”
Scuderia Coloni’s Roldan Rodriguez added: “It was very fun to drive, and the corners were tricky. For sure it will be easy for the public to enjoy. It will be very easy to lose the traction on the corners, making it difficult for drivers and very good for the public.”
Over the course of the two days, some sessions were held in the dark to test the circuit’s lighting system. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be the first-ever twilight Formula One race, will get underway at Yas Marina on Friday.
I’m still excited about this weekend’s race and the prospect of a new circuit. Why? I just have a feeling it’s going to be “cool.”