PIRELLI ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
PIRELLI ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX PREVIEW Round 21 of 21 Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 25-27 November 2016
This year’s Formula 1 world championship comes to a close in Abu Dhabi, with the drivers’ title set to be decided at the final race. Pirelli is bringing the three softest compounds in the range to Abu Dhabi: P Zero Purple ultrasoft, P Zero Red supersoft, and P Zero Yellow soft. The ultrasoft is being used for the first time since Singapore, marking its fifth appearance of the year.
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:
- Yas Marina has a very smooth track surface with a wide variety of corners and speeds, as well as warm weather that is consistent all year round, which makes it a favoured venue for testing.
- Because the circuit is quite varied, teams tend to run a medium downforce compromise set-up.
- Overtaking tends to be quite tricky at Yas Marina, so strategy can help boost track position.
- The smooth surface generally leads to quite low levels of tyre wear and degradation.
- The grand prix starts in the late afternoon at 5pm and ends in the evening, which means that track temperatures tend to vary from start to finish, sometimes dropping off dramatically.
- Traction is a key aspect of tyre behaviour in Abu Dhabi, with all the acceleration out of corners.
- Like Brazil, Yas Marina is an anti-clockwise lap, which is not typical of the rest of the season.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
- Yellow soft: seen at every race but is the hardest compound available this weekend.
- Red supersoft: used previously at Abu Dhabi and like the soft, it’s a mandatory available set.
- Purple ultrasoft: this has a speed advantage, so puts an interesting variable into strategy.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
- Nico Rosberg won the 55-lap race with a two-stop strategy for Mercedes, starting on supersoft and then stopping for softs on laps 10 and 31. Two stops was the most popular option.
- Best alternative strategy: Sebastian Vettel also stopped twice but with two initial stints on soft followed by a final stint on supersoft. This allowed him to climb from 15th on the grid to fourth.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR: “Abu Dhabi is one of the circuits we know best, having completed a number of tests there previously, including some of the recent 2017 wider tyre tests that we have been carrying out since August. The new element to this year’s race is obviously the ultrasoft tyre, which should provide some extra speed on a circuit that forms a good all-round test for the tyres. In fact, all the compounds nominated for this year are very well suited to Abu Dhabi, opening up a number of different possibilities when it comes to strategy. Although the attention is on the finish of the 2016 season, we’re already looking forward to 2017, with a presentation to media before the start of the grand prix, then the first test with all three mule cars on track together with 2017 tyres, on the Tuesday after the race.” WHAT’S NEW?
- Abu Dhabi will also be the final grand prix for the current generation of cars, before the new 2017 rules come in that should increase lap speeds by five seconds compared to 2015.
- As well as the F1 drivers’ title, both the GP2 and GP3 championships will conclude in Abu Dhabi. Italy’s Antonio Giovinazzi is in contention for the GP2 title in his rookie year of the series.
- Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have made exactly the same tyre selections for their title showdown. The most aggressive choice is from Nico Hulkenberg, with eight ultrasoft sets.
- On the same evening as the final F1 test in Abu Dhabi (29 November) the 2017 Pirelli calendar will be launched in Paris, shot by German photographer and director Peter Lindbergh.
OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE CAUGHT OUR EYE RECENTLY:
- Pirelli supplied both the FIA GT and F3 World Cup at the world famous Macau Grand Prix last weekend. Antonio Felix da Costa won the Formula 3 race, while Laurens Vanthoor triumphed in the GT encounter.
- The FIA European Rally Championship has announced its 10-round 2017 calendar, with Pirelli confirmed once again as exclusive tyre supplier for the Junior series, and a new round in Italy.
TYRES NOMINATED THIS SEASON: