Abu Dhabi approves new layout plan for F1 track to improve racing

Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 track is to undergo layout modifications this summer in a bid to help boost overtaking for this year’s season finale.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16

After a lacklustre final race to the 2020 campaign where there was little action, race promoters agreed that they would look into the possibility of revising the circuit.

Now the track says those plans have been given the green light and work will commence soon on changes to a number of corners. They will be ready in time for this season’s race on 12 December.

Saif Al Noaimi, acting CEO Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, said: “We’ve been looking at improving the racing on the track.

“We’ve been listening to our spectators, the fans, the drivers, F1 and the FIA, and we’ve been working on making some changes, exciting changes, this year to the layout of the track.

“We will be undergoing some modifications to the track over the summer in time for this year’s edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”

Al Noaimi said details of the exact changes will be revealed to the public shortly, but the hope was that the new layout would boost overtaking opportunities.

“The objective ultimately is to create more opportunities for close wheel-to-wheel racing," he added.

“We want to create more overtaking opportunities and to overall create a faster flowing race track, given the current rules of the vehicles.

“So we're really looking forward to seeing some overtaking and action, and hopefully the championship will come down to the wire and be determined here.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000, Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL35

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000, Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL35

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

One potential area for a change is the hairpin section before the long back straight.

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The chicane before the hairpin tends to spread the cars out and makes it hard for battles to take place in to or out of the hairpin.

Last year Daniel Ricciardo expressed his hope that the layout could be tweaked after the dull F1 finale.

“I certainly don’t want to talk the place down, because I want to keep coming back here, because it is amazing,” he said.

“But maybe we could play around with the layouts. I know there is a few alternatives maybe around here, because unfortunately on Sunday, it is tricky.

“It’s sometimes a bit grim from an entertainment point of view.”

Abu Dhabi has also said that a limited number of fans will be allowed to watch this year’s race and entertainment schedule, with the 2020 event having taken place behind closed doors.

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