Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

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McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Round 17 of the 2013 Formula One World Championship takes place at the Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 55-lap race takes in a total of 190 miles from dusk to nightfall to allow a more temperate climate for spectators, instead of having them sit through Abu Dhabi’s harsh daytime heat.

This makes it unique, as it’s the only twilight race of the year. Other standout features of the Abu Dhabi GP include the pitlane (which exits through a tunnel under turn one), the paddock’s air-conditioned pit garages, and the complex lighting system used after the sun goes down--it's the largest permanent lighting system in the world.

The track itself is special in that it has three distinct sectors, each putting different demands on the car. The first corner is the start of a flowing sequence of bends, were cars and drivers are subjected to lateral acceleration of up to 4 g and speeds in excess of 155 mph. There are then two very long straights in the middle section and the last sector is tight and twisty.

It’s why Pirelli does a lot of testing here during the pre-season. The Italian firm has nominated its P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires for the race, the same used in last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix.

Apart from the characteristics of the Yas Marina Circuit, much of this season’s excitement is over, following the granting of both Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles to Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull Racing team last weekend. No doubt many of the teams are already looking forward to the 2014 season, although the race for second is still very much alive.

While Vettel sits on an unbeatable 322 points, the 207 points of second-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari is not far ahead of Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen’s 183 points. The gap between second and third in the Constructors’ Championship is even tighter. Red Bull Racing has an unbeatable 470 points, but in second is Mercedes AMG with 313 points, followed closely by Ferrari in third just four points back.

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