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VIDEO: First F1 onboard laps of Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi
VIDEO: First F1 onboard laps of Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Oct 2009   |  11:32 pm GMT  |  155 comments

Here is something a little bit special; the first on-board camera laps of the circuit which will host the final round of this year’s world championship – the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Even the F1 teams haven’t seen this material yet – and they will want to because there are some amazing features, not least the pit lane exit, which is a tunnel with a corner in it!

The track is 3.45 miles long and has 21 corners. It’s going to be quite tough on brakes as it has four big stop zones, where the cars come down from almost 200mph to a second gear corner.

Picture 1
The footage comes from the session last week, when Bruno Senna drove a two seater F1 car around the brand new circuit. The out lap gives you a sense of the geography of the track and the flying lap gives you more of a sense of the racing lines and rhythm of the lap. It’s a great piece of footage.

It looks like a real KERS circuit, not least because there is a hairpin, like the one in Montreal, giving onto the longest straight in F1 at 1.2 kilometres. Apart from the straight, you would expect cars which were competitive in Singapore to be competitive on Yas Marina and I’m making an early call that the smart money should be on Lewis Hamilton and McLaren for the win on this track. It looks like McLaren territory to me.

I’ve got some good relationships with the people at Yas Marina and I’m proud to be the first to show this material on Hope you find it interesting.

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Track is so clean and perfectly presented. Nice brand new facility. I bet the Stig could blitz this quicker whether he be Schumacher or Ben Collins.


Ok, it’s a nice track, state of the art, a bit TOO modern. It’s obviously not going to be used for motorbike racing, however, which is gutting (safety issues with run-offs etc). I think thats a shame, as the trajectory of the corners in this circuit would make interesting wsbk/motogp watching.

Tony G – to compare it to Phillip island isn’t really a good comparison – there was a minute covering the top 10!!!


So why are two of my posts not showing up, I have not broke any of your rules or Guidelines


Not sure. There are so many comments it is tough for us to keep track. But as a general rule a comment will pass as long as it’s not defamatory, rude, overly long..or just plain stupid!


Webber said it all,it ain’t Suzuka is it? Another boring race ahead at another boring track, Suzuka Interlagos and Spa are the only tracks worth watching, interesting that there were more overtaking moves at Interlagos than there were on the Moto GP bikes at Phillip Island. You need momentum to overtake in F1 not slot car circuits


I heard that the turn 5 chicane was imposed by the FIA because the run-off at the hairpin wouldn’t be enough at the speeds cars would be going at Turn 6 (previously 5).


This track does not look that good. Does not look like there will be much overtaking. Track need more than just 2 places to overtake, which is the problem with Tilkes designs.


As opposed to tracks with no real opportunities for overtaking like Monaco?

I want to see the race, I think this track may turn out to be quite good once we get an actual race going there.

And all the Tilke hate does seem a bit strange to me. Sepang is, IMO, one of the tracks that actually gets interesting racing. Has everyone forgotten the 3 cars next to each other overtaking we had there a couple years ago?


The pit lane exit is epic! Will that influence strategy?


I would not be one bit surprised to ear drivers criticising the pit lane exit. Not so much the tunnel part which should be pretty safe assuming you are careful and there is not too much dust on it but the junction with the race track is quite short with no visibility whatsoever. See footage from 0:37 to 0:40. A car coming from the pit lane can’t see if there is a car approaching on the track and conversely a driver or group of cars busy racing on that section of the track just couldn’t see until the very last minute if a car is about to rejoin from the pit lane under their nose in what seems to be a very narrow corner. Expect cars to be t-booned there. Incredibly daft and dangerous design with nowhere to go to avoid an accident. If I were a pilot I would ask for a white line “even if it could only be a very short one” to be painted on the track at the end of the pit lane to make sure cars racing in that curve stay on the right inside leaving room to cars exiting the pits. The footage does not show the entrance to the pits, too bad.


Got to.


I don’t think we will see many 2 stoppers at this race despite I think it will be thisty circuit, any more on this James?


Going back to this circuit, it will be interesting to see F1 there next year when refuelling will be banned and all cars will be starting the race with a full load of fuel.

This year some races saw few cars struggling at the end with brakes and this circuit is probably one of the most demanding on breaks.

I think it will fun to see the F1 there next year, what do you think James?


I don’t understand why turns 5 and 6 are there. What’s the point of that bit? Is there a required number of chicanes on the new circuits?


I’m sorry you feel so jaded about it all. I’ve been in the business 20 years now and I still enjoy standing by the side of Eau Rouge, or Pouhon or Copse or Degner curve and I still regularly see something awesome. Turn 8 at Istanbul isn’t bad either. I like the look of Turn 2 and 3 at Yas Marina.

On your performance point, I think the cars have similar performance today because all the teams have similar measuring devices, like wind tunnels, CFD and so on. Yes the regs are tight, but if anything there is more scope for the field opening up a bit next year because use of wind tunnels etc is restricted so it’s about who’s the most efficient.

Oops, should have mentioned good post! Waiting on the next one!


James, I think in this circuit we will see the difference between good and bad drivers between tun 2 and 5 and 9 and 12.

With no traction control and all the gizmos, the really good drivers will be able to gain possibly up to 10-20 km/h in these 2 part of the track and gain a lot before the big breaking zones, what do you think ?


I think when they get into it and look to find the line and the rhythm of the lap they will find that there is more to it than people here imagine


I agree with that James and I think dust outside the racing line could be a big factor.

If you want to overtake in the breaking areas you will need to go in the dirty side of the track, Rubens will be delighted


That pit exit is really cool. Otherwise it looks average, like Bahrain and Valencia put together.


All you detractors are nuts! I would much rather go to this track than Donnington!


Add this to Sepang, Turkey, Bahrain, Valencia and China with the 5 mile wide straights and lack of atmosphere. No innovation, dull circuits and lifeless racing combined with the refuelling ban will make 2009 my last year of watching F1.


Its intresting how someone above mentions how they want Imola back.

however when we went to Imola everyone complained that the races were boring because overtaking was next to impossible there.

People also complain about circuits like Sepang, Bahrain, Istanbul Etc… coming in, yet its these circuits that often produce the best racing.

I saw a statistic a year ago which noted that Bahrain had produced the most on-track passes each year it had been on the schedule, with this year been the exception.

Istanbul has also produced some nice racing, 2006 was especially good. Same for Sepang, this years race was great untill the rain turned up with lots of overtaking in the Mid-Field.

Circuits such as Imola, magny-Course, Indy to name some of the one’s most recently dropped, were all nice tracks with history, However none of them produced good racing unless it rained.

The newer Tilke circuits may not have the history & may not be the most intresting, But more often than not they produce good racing & Id rather watch a good race at Bahrain or Istanbul than a boring race at Imola or Magny-Bores!


You may have a point with Imola but Indy had a long straight with a great opportunity for faster cars to pass as did Magny-Cours.


Its true that Indy & Magny-Cours had long straghts into slow turns, However neither produced much passing in the dry.

Magny-Cours was renamed Magny-Bores by many fans because of the boring races it often produced. They altered the final corners in 2003 to try & make a better overtaking zone but it didn’t work.

Don’t forget that in 2004 at Magny-Cours Schumacher had to switch to a 4-stop pit strategy to pass Alonso because it was impossible to do so on track despite been a couple tenths faster.

I always liked Imola & Magny Course but neither produced any decent races unless it rained so im not too sorry to see them gone.


Hi James, thanks for the insight, I’ll reserve judgement til race day I think!

On a slightly related note, do you think something like this would help or hinder Bruno in his bid to get a race seat next year? I mean, he can now claim to be the most experienced F1 racer at Yas Marina! 😛


I hear he might announce something this weekend in Brazil


whats with the mickey mouse ‘bus-stop’ at 52s? The track goes straight on till the corner couldn’t they have taken that option?


Thanks for the footage. Love the website. Thank you.

Leaving the pits down the hill, through the tunnel and back up reminds me of leaving the rental car park at Frankfurt airport. Depressing at best.

the rest of the scenery reminded me of what it would look like if you laid a track down in Las Vegas around the convention center buildings and through all those big empty car parks in between.

I love the “proper tracks” like Suzuka, Interlagos, Spa, Monza…

James, thanks again for this footage and this website.


Great track! You seem to be right James about it. It’s a KERS car circuit, although Brawn GP will not be too far beyond.


I think you are right. There are lots of big braking zones, which suit the Brawn


I think Ferrari will struggle like mad in this circuit, the have no traction and poor overall performance in a stop-start race.

Moroever I don’t think Ferrari’s kers is as good as McLaren.


Don’t really think so. Ferrari are usually flying in Brazil.


Agreed, must say though that the venue looks fantastic and I like the pit exit idea! As someone else mentioned though, hopefully no-one will crash into that concrete with cold tyres.


Odds on for an accident in the pit exit tunnel on cold tyres.


It will interesting to see the battle for pole, I can see a non kers car at the front with little fuel maybe do the business.

LH probably the winner and a very good track for Brawns with a lot of stop-start, traction will be a very big factor as well as breaking.

I think Rubens could do very well but Jenson smooth driving style will secure a good finish and the title.

I think Red Bull will struggle to score points


Jake, Martin & David from the Beeb went to the circuit from the Japanese GP to film a feature in the 2 seater car so hopefully this weekend there will be some footage there too!


Great footage James.

Looks like a McBrawn special with Rosberg filling to me!!

1st Button



Nah it’s KERS and brakes, McLaren.


James, hope to see you there, i’ve got the seats in the west grandstand which has a 60% view of the circuit.. is that alot?

also gonna be around in the pitlane on thursday


Have a great time. 60% view of the track sounds like quite a bit. The only other place like that is Interlagos and I doubt that is as much as 60%. Shanghai is probably 40-50% from the very top of the stands.


Nice scoop JA, very interesting although you guys need to get with the times.

I’ve been hairing round this track in an F1 car for a few weeks on rFactor. This all looked very familiar but a bit slower 🙂

If the models of other tracks are anything to go by, I already know where most people will be going off as well.


And where is that then?


Turn 5, 8 and 11 are obviously going to be coming together spots for overly ambitions overtakers.

The patience required before getting the power down coming out of the hairpin is immense. It’s very easy to Piquet into the wall so speeds along the straight should really vary.

The almost constant radius turn from 15 and 16 before the braking zone at 17 means that going minutely wide really compromises opportunities to brake for the next corner and it ends up messy although there is good run-off.

I think there may also be some issues or ruling on chicane cutting @ 8 and 9.


James – rFactor is an F1 Racing Simulator for the PC. It has a big community who “mod” the game with new tracks and the latest car designs.


What a tedious circuit.

Not thrilled at all by yet another Tilke fest.

A victory of style over substance like so many other soulless holes pretending to be race tracks.

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