Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview – AT&T Williams
When: Friday 11 to Sunday 13 November, 2011
Where: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
Round: 18 of 19
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Early preparation for the 55 lap Abu Dhabi race has gone well. The Yas Marina Circuit is a medium aerodynamic efficiency track, with a real mix of long straights and relatively tight, low mean speed corners, which in turn puts a great deal of energy through the braking system. We are expecting low 30˚C ambient temperatures with track temperatures rising into the low 40˚C so we will have to run a relatively ‘open’ cooling package. Fuel consumption at the race is medium to high, but the actual fuel effect on lap-time is average. Pirelli are bringing their medium and soft tyres to this race, with these tyres being last used together at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Rubens Barrichello: Abu Dhabi is a great race and although some people say that overtaking was not easy there the last two years, this year with DRS I think we will have some really good racing. The track is very exciting for drivers. Turns 2 and 3 make a very special combination of high speed corners with the last part of the track a very tricky sequence of low speed and technical corners. I enjoy going to Abu Dhabi and I’m looking to score some more points before heading to the last race of the season in Brazil.
Pastor Maldonado: The Yas Marina Circuit has a very interesting combination of corners, mostly slow speed with one fast section right at the start of the lap. It is quite a long lap and tyre degradation is usually quite high. Although it is a fairly new track, the team has lots of data from both the races and test here last year. I enjoyed the Young Driver test there in 2010 as well as racing in GP2, so I also know the track. Abu Dhabi is a really nice place to visit with great fans.
From Cosworth’s perspective: Abu Dhabi is not one of the most strenuous circuits on the calendar from an engine point of view. Last year’s event was the first time that Cosworth had visited the Yas Marina Circuit for Formula One, so this year’s race will be less of a step into the unknown. The circuit is similar in nature to Valencia with two long straights separated by 90-degree corners. The presence of these two straights will mean that spacing gear ratios to suit both the short bursts of acceleration required between the tight corners and for the straights can be a difficult task. Turn 7 is tight so can pose issues with engine ‘push’ into the corner and pick-up out of it. Being in a desert region inevitably raises the question of air filtration, although the extremely dusty conditions in India should have provided the sternest test of the season in that regard.
From Pirelli’s perspective: Abu Dhabi is an important race for us historically, as it’s where the teams tried out our tyres for the first time at a test following last year’s Grand Prix. We’ve also tested a lot at the Yas Marina circuit, so we’ve been able to gather a lot of track-specific data for every tyre in our range. The P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero White medium should be well-suited to the characteristics of the circuit, which is very smooth and contains a wide variety of corners. Because of the sand that blows onto the surface, we would expect quite a high degree of track evolution over the course of the weekend.