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The inside line on new Abu Dhabi track with Bruno Senna
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The inside line on new Abu Dhabi track with Bruno Senna
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Aug 2009   |  5:32 pm GMT  |  26 comments

Bruno Senna has been in Abu Dhabi for the last two days, driving the new Yas Marina Circuit and meeting the people there.
Picture 2

Senna says he is more hopeful of getting an F1 seat next year as there are more opportunities than there were this year.

With just over two months to go until the inaugural Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, Senna was able to drive the track in a 4×4 road car and get an impression of what kind of track it is and which of the current F1 teams it will favour, bearing in mind that the season finale could be the decisive race in the championship. His answer may surprise you.

Is spoke to him on the phone today and I thought I would share his thoughts with you:

What do you think of the track?
It’s impressive, different from anything seen before. The nearest is probably Shanghai in terms of how well planned and laid out it is, but this place is on another level. Many of the solutions of this track are interesting.

Such as?
Well the pit lane exit, which is a tunnel, for example. That is more than a bit interesting. The pit speed limit line is before it so they will be racing through the tunnel. It’s quite narrow, not as narrow as the exit in Valencia, but still narrow and it exits onto the high speed Turn 3, mind you the cars exiting the pits will be going quite quickly by then. Also something I’ve never seen before is the run off area for Turn 7 is underneath the grandstand!

Any other surprises?
It’s not as flat as I thought it would be. They’ve moved earth around to make some elevation changes. This gives some really nice blind corners. There is a nice mix of corners, some fast corners, the ones around the marina are off camber.

It will be really hard to get a good compromise on the set up, especially the aero balance. It’s the kind of track where the car will feel really oversteery. The majority of the corner are tight, so a good front end will be very important. It has a very long straight, the longest in F1 at 1.2 km with a first gear corner going onto it and at the end of it. To me this looks like a real KERS track. As for set up, you’d go for a medium to high downforce set up, something like you would use at Magny Cours.

Which bits do you like the most?
The first complex of corners, turns 1, 2 and 3 are really nice, fast sweeps. It’s very cool, they are blind corners and the exit of turn 3 is downhill. Then turns 14 and 15 are really cool fast right handed corners, where the wall is quite close.

How is the Marina? Is it more Monaco than Valencia?
Yes it will be like Monaco when the boats are in there, but it’s much more modern than Monaco, the architecture is much more modern. There are some beautiful buildings here, like the Shams Tower, and the hotel which is like a bridge over the circuit.

Will it be more of a Brawn circuit or a Red Bull circuit?
“It’s a KERS circuit!”

What are your chances of a race seat looking like for next year?
” There are more opportunities for next year than there were for this. I’m talking to some teams, the odds are looking better for next year.”

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26 Comments
  1. Finn says:

    Intelligent chap – should be in F1.

  2. swayze says:

    “Its a KERS circuit”

    That useful then considering Kers ain’t going to be used from 2010

    Has it been designed to accommodate KERS ?

    Could be interesting if the WDC goes to the last race this year though

    1. djs says:

      Kers is included in the 2010 rules

    2. monktonnik says:

      “That useful then considering Kers ain’t going to be used from 2010

      Has it been designed to accommodate KERS ?”

      Kers can be used in 2010. I believe it is still allowed in the rules, and not all the teams on track are in FOTA. You could imagine Mercedes wanting to try KERS out with Force India. Also I read somewhere that KERS will be part of the new engine regs in 2012 (or whenever)

      Abu Dhabi sounds like a good track. I guess if the long straight has tight corners at either end, this will give at least one opportunity to overtake.

      I actuall think the Overtaking working group ought to design a set of corners where overtaking is possible and install them at every track.

      1. swayze says:

        I realize it is still in the regulations for 2010 but was under the impression that FOTA teams had agreed not to use it.

        We will have to wait and see if Williams and force India will re join FOTA

        Although i see below that Leigh O’Gorman has stated that Williams will be using it next yaer which i would imagine would prevent them rejoining FOTA.

        I thought Williams were going to continue to develop it so they could sell the technology on to third parties.
        But was unaware they were actually putting it on their cars although i may well be wrong.

    3. KERS is optional in 2010 – Williams have already stated that they’ll use theirs next year; not sure about anyone else though

  3. Werewolf says:

    The Abu Dhabi circuit sounds interesting, although everyone will be happier if it promotes close racing and overtaking than with novelties such as tunnels. I particularly like the idea of a grandstand over a run off area, an excellent solution to bringing the public closer to the action. I know we are all so much more safety conscious these days and run-offs have saved countless lives but I do miss the thrill of being close to the cars, as we were back in the 1960s and 1970s.

    It would be great to have the Senna name back in F1, although Bruno’s passage through the junior formulae leaves questions about his true potential. But then, so did Damon Hill’s …

    1. James says:

      I think Bruno’s problem with regards to having to through the lower Formula is that there hasnt been any decent offers on the table for him. Senna at Renault could be a possibility for next season.

      Also bare in mind that his family forbid him to take part in any motorsport after his uncle’s tragic accident.

    2. David Turnedge says:

      Schumacher… Hill… Hakkinen… Alonso… Raikkonen… Hamilton… Button (maybe)… Webber (wish)… who needs a famous name?

      I have had enough of sons of famous drivers already!

      Great drivers make their own name!

      1. James says:

        Would you be referring to Graham Hill or Damon Hill?

      2. Werewolf says:

        Hill?

      3. davidturnedge says:

        Sorry… Again… I was counting Champions from 1994… I forgot to omit Hill from my list of ‘new names’… at least I managed to omit Villeneuve!

      4. Jos The Boss says:

        Yeah, but for every Villeneuve, there’s a Matias Lauda

  4. artorwar says:

    Someone give the boy a ride for gods sake. He may not be WDC material yet but we need another Senna on the grid, even just for one season. The kid is a racer in his own right and he is well on his way to proving that beyond doubt. I for one cant wait to see him in a Manor or Campos (or better!)

  5. Jon says:

    Another fabulously expensive Herman Tilke Formula One circuit in a region that spends not a penny on grassroots racing / karting or young driver development. They appear to have plans to invite other international championships, whilst the circuit will be too expensive for local racers to learn their race craft. Sadly, illegal street racing will remain the most popular form of motorsport in the Gulf until some of the $11bn being spent on motor racing infrastructure is allocated to encouraging locals to get in a race car.

  6. Nico says:

    Why do we need another Senna? Bruno has not overly impressed in F3 or GP2, and the only reason he is being talked about for an F1 drive is his name.

    1. David Turnedge says:

      His uncle’s name… he took by changing his name from his original surname… Bruno is trading on Senna’s name BIG TIME…

      1. Stevie P says:

        Wasn’t Ayrton Senna’s surname actually Da Silva!?!

      2. Margaret says:

        Yes, Ayrton’s full name as we all know was Ayrton Senna de Silva, Bruno’s full name is Bruno Senna Lalli, both chose to use the middle part of their name, why do people criticise Bruno for doing that when Ayrton did the same!!

        Bruno did not change his name, Senna has always been part of his name! So many people don’t look beyond the name to see Bruno’s talent, to acheive what he has done in such a few short years (after the family ban) is nothing short of amazing!

  7. Robert McKay says:

    Judgement reserved on the track of course but it’s a shame that every new track now appears more focused on some sort of novelty, be it floodlights, a “swing bridge” (I don’t know why the fact it swings is so interesting, seeing as it doesn’t swing during the race!), a pitlane thats a tunnel, or the track/runoff going under the spectators like Singagpore/Abu Dhabi respectively.

    Seems a bit like the facilities and the novelties take precedence over the actual layout. So let’s hope Abu Dhabi delivers. At least they have elevation changes, which is a start.

  8. john g says:

    1.2km straight into a 1st gear corner. could have guessed tilke was involved… ah well it will look pretty i guess and get the VIP’s in (for the first year or two) so that’s all that matters.

  9. Stephen Pattenden says:

    James,

    Who’s that on the right in the picture? It doesn’t look like you; it looks like Piquet!?

    1. James Allen says:

      N, I wasn’t there. We spoke on phone. Not sure who it is.

  10. David Turnedge says:

    Has Bruno even driven a KERS equipped car? Talk about PR…

  11. Gary Clarke says:

    James,

    Did you know that BARC won the contract to supply this event with officials – mainly marshals etc? I think there’s something like 200-300 Brits being flown out in this capacity. The application process was over subscribed by about four times so there are a lot of disappointed marshals about – me included! Have to make do with Rallycross at Croft instead!

    Good ‘PR’ for British marshals.

    Gary

    1. James Allen says:

      Cheers for that, Gary

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