Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Yas Marina Circuit

First grand prix 2009

Number of laps 55

Race distance 305.470KM

Circuit length 5.554KM

About the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The last race of the Formula 1 season takes place again in the Abu Dhabi desert. The Yas Marina Circuit may not have been the place where the title race was decided in the last couple of years, but the fireworks and the relief after the Grand Prix haven't diminished.

And even when the race is over, the work starts again: Preparations for next season have to be started!

Abu Dhabi Track guide

The Abu Dhabi circuit is one that had such potential, yet ultimately produces disappointing racing the majority of the time. The track starts with a fast sequence of turns, with elevation changes making the first sector one of the best on the calendar.

Sadly, after sector one, things aren’t so interesting. Following turn 7, we find a massively long straight. The 1.2 kilometre back straight is the joint longest on the F1 calendar, and this part of the track is where we see the bulk of the overtaking, due to this being the first DRS zone. The straight leads into eh right-left chicane, which saw one of 2018’s scariest crashes and funniest radio messages.

Nico Hulkenberg was sent into a roll after contact with Romain Grosjean and came to rest upside down against the wall. Hulkenberg then told his pit crew: “I’m hanging here like a cow,” complete with a voice break. Great stuff.

Another long straight comes immediately after, acting as the second DRS zone. Also a popular overtaking spot, we saw Max Verstappen make some good moves here last time out.

The rest of the track is unfortunately a bit of a non-event, with plenty of right angled slow corners offering up few opportunities for overtakes.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has often taken the role of the final race of the season and will do again in 2019.

Race history

When F1 first arrived in Abu Dhabi in 2009, Jenson Button and Brawn GP has already won the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles.

2010 was much more open however, with Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton all having a chance of taking the title. Famously, pit stop timing errors from both Alonso and Webber saw them stuck behind the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, and in the era before DRS, they were unable to pass and Vettel won the race to take his first world title.

We witnessed a spectacular crash in 2012, when Nico Rosberg smashed into the slow moving HRT of Narain Karthikeyan, pitching his car into the air and into the barriers at turn 17. This Grand Prix also saw one of the most popular victories of recent times, as Kimi Raikkonen took the win for Lotus, his first since his return to F1.

In 2014 we had the strange situation of double points being awarded for the winner. In a move to put more emphasis on the final race, it was decided that double points in the final race was a good idea. Fortunately, it had no impact on the title race with Lewis Hamilton winning comfortably, and it didn’t return.

The end of the 2016 race was one of the tensest in recent times. Rosberg, going for the title, was in a winning position but under pressure from the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Rosberg managed to hold on and win the championship and retired a few days later.

2016 is the last time we saw a title decided in Abu Dhabi, but maybe we’ll get one later this year? We can only hope…

Last year at the Yas Marina Circuit

There was barely anything to race for anymore by the time the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix came around. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton had their respective titles wrapped up and McLaren had officially taken fourth place in the championship as well.

The only battles worth taking note of was the one for third place in the championship, which Max Verstappen led ahead of Charles Leclerc, and the one for sixth between Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon.

While Hamilton cruised to another relatively straightforward win, Verstappen held off Leclerc for second and sealed third place in the championship, the best year of the Dutchman’s career. Sainz, meanwhile, had a magnificent overtake on Nico Hulkenberg in the final lap of the race to secure sixth in the standings. Speaking of Hulkenberg, it was his last race for Renault as the German has no place on the 2020, getting replaced by Esteban Ocon.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2020

50 laps of 5.5 kilometres each: Under a setting sun, 20 drivers take care of an extremely long, sensational race on the technical circuit. Hermann Tilke designed the track, so it will come as no surprise that this circuit also has the necessary long straights. Not on the start/finish for a change, as that part is too short for a decent DRS zone.

Instead, the 20 cars are rushing towards turn eight at top speed and shortly after that towards turn 11. If you have just overtaken someone on the first DRS section, the driver will open his rear wing behind you. So duels will also be fought in this last GP on the Formula 1 calendar, with teams already busy for next season as big losers!

What will the race weekend of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix look like?

26th The first press conferences are scheduled on November, and the drivers are set to take place in their cars to drive two free practice sessions the day after. FP1 is scheduled for November 27th at 10:00, four hours later at 14:00 the second practice session will be driven.

Qualifying starts on Saturday November 28th at 14:00, the race on Sunday November 29th at ten past two in the afternoon. 

Session Date Time
Practice 1 11 December 2020 04:00 - 05:30
Practice 2 11 December 2020 08:00 - 09:30
Practice 3 12 December 2020 05:00 - 06:00
Qualifying 12 December 2020 08:00 - 09:00
Race 13 December 2020 08:10 - 10:10
Times are in America/New_York Timezone
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