Abu Dhabi Grand Prix organizers plan to widen the entry to the main hairpin and radically alter the cambering on another corner as part of changes to improve overtaking at its Yas Marina circuit.
With the track having come under fire for a lack of passing last year, race chiefs have agreed to revamp some of the corners to improve matters for this November's penultimate round of the Formula 1 championship. Although the final details of what is being done have not been confirmed, sources have revealed to AUTOSPORT that plans are close to being signed off for three main changes. They are:
- The Turn 5/6 chicane and entry to the bottom Turn 7 hairpin will be made much wider, so as to allow more opportunity for drivers to take a different line into and through the corner.
- The negative camber on the exit of the Turn 9 chicane will be re-profiled to make it a banked corner, thereby giving drivers the chance to take a wide line and run around the outside of a rival.
- The slow left-handers at Turns 13 and 14 will be made into one sweeping corner to try and improve the flow of the circuit near the end of the lap.
Although the evidence from the first three races suggest that F1's new rules are already creating more overtaking opportunities than last year, the Abu Dhabi tweaks have been welcomed by drivers.
"We're very happy to hear that Abu Dhabi, after building a very good track, is open to making further changes in order to see if we can find some guidelines for the future that may improve the overtaking situation," said Michael Schumacher at the Chinese Grand Prix. "I think it's a good step in the right direction, to see what will be done, what effect it will have.
"Nevertheless, if you look at this year's competition in general, it does offer a lot more overtaking possibilities. I think that in that respect, in terms of spectacle and interest in the sport, it has risen extremely."