When: Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd November, 2013
Where: Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
Round: 17 of 19
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a unique race starting under the glare of the sunshine and ending as the sun goes down. The Yas Marina Circuit features medium to high efficiency, with long straights and slow speed corners, which results in high brake energy. It has a lower than average turn angle but corner speeds and fuel consumption are about average. However, the circuit is different to most for tyres; lateral tyre energy is low whilst longitudinal energy is high due to the severe braking and traction demands. Furthermore, the track surface not only improves over the weekend, but the track evolves between and even within sessions, with sometimes significant drops in track temperature. Tyre degradation can be an issue due to the high temperatures and changing track conditions, this could be especially important in the race regarding strategy and the order in which you run on each compound.
Pastor Maldonado: Last year I had a good race weekend here, qualifying in P3 and finishing P5 despite not having KERS available in the race, so this is a track that suits me and I have good memories of it. Abu Dhabi also has great weather, nice people and is generally impressive all around so it is a nice place to visit. I like the track’s first sector in particular as it is very quick, particularly Turns 2, 3 and 4, and the final sector is very picturesque. Whenever we visit a race with a hot climate we can see thermal tyre degradation, so this will be a focus for us in the build up to the weekend. We have made some progress in recent weeks and the car felt better in India, so we will be looking to continue moving forwards as we approach the final few races of the season.
Valtteri Bottas: Abu Dhabi is very different to recent tracks; the corners are quite short with lots of chicanes and big braking zones, so we will need to set the car up differently. You need good traction when exiting the corners to minimise wheel spin and your car needs to be good at taking kerbs. We are not expecting the track to be too severe on tyres, although because the ambient and track temperatures are quite high the tyres can degrade thermally quite a bit so we will need to manage that. I have good memories of the Yas Marina Circuit as this is where I drove a Formula One car for the first time in 2011 with Williams, and we had a strong result here last year as well which should prove useful for this weekend when setting the car up.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: The Yas Marina Circuit is a very typical modern style track with mainly slow to medium corners, long straights and tight hairpin bends. The stop start nature of the track makes fuel consumption very high over one lap, and is further increased by the high atmospheric pressure due to being at sea level. The day to night schedule makes ambient conditions vary significantly, plus grip levels and tyre warm up and air pressure will change. The engine needs to respond to this new set of parameters so we are constantly monitoring weather reports throughout the weekend.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: Abu Dhabi is one of the circuits that we know best as we’ve done so much of our testing there before we came into Formula One. It’s a varied track with a bit of everything so we wanted to open up as many options as possible, which is why we selected the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft. That’s the same choice that we had in India but the usage conditions are going to be very different this time. That’s not only because the characteristics of the two circuits are very different, but also because the weather will not be the same. Abu Dhabi is the only race of the year that starts off in the late afternoon and ends in the evening, which means that the pattern of track and tyre temperature evolution is very different to what we find anywhere else. This will have a big effect on the strategy, so the work that the teams carry out in free practice especially will be very important.