Yas Marina Circuit is the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which has served as the penultimate race for the last few years.
Like any other year, Abu Dhabi is going to be the last race of the 2021 season. However, this time there will be several alterations fans and drivers will watch.
Apparently, those redesigns will make the circuit more exciting and intend to enhance the quality of the race. Ben Willshire, managing director at Driven, the company responsible for redesigning the circuit, reveals what led to the restructure of Yas Marina.
“I think Covid kind of focused the mind a little bit,” explains Willshire, “In the past, whilst there was some criticism about the racing, there was still fantastic concerts, a good atmosphere and a sold-out Paddock Club.”
“And then suddenly with Covid last year, none of those are the niceties that were happening. So the focus was on the track and the race and I think there was a bit of disappointment that there wasn’t a lot of overtaking,” he added.
The Yas Marina circuit is hardly a decade old, yet it is ready to change its layout to make Abu Dhabi an attractive F1 destination.
Yas Marina has a refurbished track for speed and overtaking. It would be slippery after being resurfaced, just as Jeddah and Turkey last year. A previous slow corner speed increased to 300kph. pic.twitter.com/L9oF01bktv
— McNamara Fibonacci (@RevelationBang) November 25, 2021
Fans contributed to improving Yas Marina
Meanwhile, Wilshere also reveals a few inputs by the amateur designers who maybe follow the sport. And their designs did striker the professionals.
“When you’re looking at a circuit we see lots of designs,” Willshire explains. “Myself and Mark spend a lot of time reading what fans are saying online and part of that design process was looking at what people were saying.”
“It’s interesting to compare what the professionals are thinking versus maybe some of the amateur track designers or fans,” he added. However, in the end, a professional designer has to consider more variables than amateur designers wouldn’t even think of.
“Usually what we see at a concept stage and what we see [from] the fans is very much like a 2D line drawing, it’s a plan of a circuit with a line and say ‘this is what I would do, this is some ideas’. Where we come in really is how do you then implement that in reality?”
“Because as soon as you get onto the ground, what may seem like a flat circuit is not flat in reality. A metre or two of gradient change makes a huge impact on what you can really do in implementing a track design.”
“You’ve also got things like the FIA safety simulations to consider, what TecPro barriers are going where, you’ve got drainage and kerbs that are already in place.”
“In many ways upgrading a track is much harder than designing one from scratch because I would compare it to refurbishing a hotel or a house when you’ve got certain constraints that you have to work within and things you can and can’t touch.”