This weekend sees the running of the final event on the 2015 Formula One World Championship calendar, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which once again is being held at the Yas Marina Circuit. Located on a man-made island to the east of Abu Dhabi, the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit stretches 3.451 miles and is famous for its pitlane exit that passes underneath Turn 1 as well as the high-tech air-conditioned pit garages and the largest permanent lighting system in the world.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is known as a twilight race, where the lights turn green during daylight and the checkered flag is waved at night. This leads to falling track and air temperatures over the course of the race, which in turn means the pace tends to get faster as the day goes on, a phenomenon that's accentuated by falling fuel loads.
The track layout consists of 21 turns and three distinct sections that each put different demands on the car. The first corner is the start of a flowing sequence of bends, where 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 and really works the tires.
A smooth track surface has led to Pirelli nominating its two softest compounds in the range: soft and supersoft. The good news is that it barely tends to rain in Abu Dhabi so teams can look forward to dry conditions throughout the weekend.
Last year’s winner was Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. He was also awarded the 2014 Drivers’ Championship title at the race. He already has the 2015 title under his belt though we bet he still won’t be taking it easy this weekend.
In the 2015 Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton sits on 363 points. Fellow Mercedes man Nico Rosberg is second with 297 points and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is third with 266 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes enjoys 660 points and is followed by Ferrari with 401 points and Williams with 257 points.
In other F1 news, the F1 Strategy Group, the F1 Commission and the FIA are in negotiations with power unit suppliers about a proposal to ensure all teams competing in F1 will have access to a power unit. It’s been reported that Red Bull Racing has failed to secure a new power unit from Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda and thus may have to seek help from current supplier Renault next season, which Red Bull had publicly criticized earlier in the year.
It’s been agreed that the power unit suppliers, in conjunction with the FIA, will present a proposal by January 15, 2016 that sets out rules for the establishment of a minimum number of teams that a power unit supplier must supply, ensuring that all teams will have access to a power unit. Unfortunately, it means that there will be no entry for new power unit suppliers.
In addition to the minimum supply rules, measures will also be put forward to reduce the cost of the supply of hybrid power units for customer teams, as well as improving their noise. F1 is aiming to have the new rules in place by the 2017 season at the earliest.