Blasting down one of the longest straights in Formula 1 at speeds of more than 300kph, adjusting to changes in light and temperature, negotiating a series of blind uphill corners at full throttle.
These are some of the characteristics of racing at Yas Marina Circuit that F1 drivers will soon face at the title-deciding 2016 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX during November 25th-27th.
And who better to give F1 fans a unique insight into life in the driving seat at the 5.5km Circuit than Phil Ellis, Yas Marina Circuit’s Driving Experiences Manager.
“It’s a stunning Circuit with incredible facilities and the drivers love it,” said Ellis.
“The long straights, changes in elevation, tight sections of corners and remarkable setting make Yas Marina Circuit a standout motorsport venue.
“Yas is one of those Circuits where the way you position your car on the track is absolutely vital. There are subtle variations you can take with your line through corners that could make all the difference in your ability to overtake and defend. And certain aspects of the Circuit, like the opposite camber at turns 11 to 13, where the road slopes away from the apex of the corner, add a unique element.”
Yas Marina Circuit is an anti-clockwise circuit with 21 corners – 12 left-handers and nine right-handers.
Drivers reach speeds of approximately 315kph on the fastest straights and throttle back to about 42kph in the slowest corners. With more than half of the track spent at full acceleration, the cars average about 190kph over the full 305km race distance.
Phil Ellis picked out turns two and three as some of the most challenging.
The sudden increase in elevation after the start/finish straight means the drivers can’t see the exit of corners they are taking at full acceleration.
The way drivers negotiate the tight hairpin in the North Grandstand section before the long back straight is also critically important.
“The way they enter and exit the corner makes all the difference to their speed on the straight and their ability to overtake or defend,” he said.
Although the UAE is well known for having hot and sandy conditions, track conditions on F1 weekend are in fact ideal for racing.
The high-quality asphalt surface is cleaned regularly, the surface lacks the bumps of street circuits including Monaco, and temperatures of about 30°C make conditions less demanding than tropical countries including Malaysia.
Even the fact that the race famously starts during the day and ends at night isn’t a major factor as Yas Marina Circuit’s floodlights are designed to replicate daylight.
“The biggest factors for the drivers are being able to overtake and positioning the car in the right place in every corner of a long lap,” explained Ellis.
“It’s a high-speed Circuit, it’s technically challenging and the conditions are perfect for racing.”
Motorsport fans who fancy themselves as racers can take on Yas Marina Circuit in a variety of cars.
The wide array of DriveYAS Driving and Passenger experiences take place in a controlled environment under the supervision of track professionals.
The Circuit this year announced a partnership with Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East (MBCME) to provide a comprehensive range of year-round driving experiences featuring its most powerful range of AMG vehicles through the circuit’s regular ‘DriveYAS’ activity days.
Drivers can get behind the wheel of an unbeatable line-up of dream machines that include the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Mercedes GLE 63.
Other fearsome machines include the Aston Martin GT4 and the Jaguar F-TYPE S.
To find out more about the wide range of DriveYAS experiences on offer all-year round, please visit Yas TV, Yas Marina Circuit’s YouTube channel, where you will also discover numerous on-track and off-track entertainment options. Please visit: