Abu Dhabi GP urged to alter circuit

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has urged Abu Dhabi track chiefs to make changes to its 'flawed' track design following the lack of overtaking at last weekend's season finale

Abu Dhabi GP urged to alter circuit

The Yas Marina circuit was supposedly designed to try and encouraging exciting racing, but despite a long straight and heavy braking zones drivers struggled to find any opportunities to get past their rivals.

That lack of passing ultimately foiled Fernando Alonso's title challenge as he was unable to overtake Vitaly Petrov and begin a push up the order that he needed to win the world championship.

Whitmarsh believes that although the facilities in Abu Dhabi are among the best in the world, the layout needs some attention.

"This circuit is regrettably a great facility and everything else, but as we saw in GP2 and as we saw in F1 it is almost impossible to overtake here - and it is flawed in that way," he said.

"I personally would like to see it changed. If you look at GP2, it was not inspiring. I think it is a fantastic facility that we come to, but the end of the straight they need a wide challenging corner, not a chicane that has got one line through it - because it is impossible to overtake.

"You could see that when we first saw the plans. It did not look like this was going to be a circuit you could overtake on, and it has been proven. There is a massive commitment here to making this a great venue, so in the scheme of things priority should be given to looking at the circuit."

Whitmarsh's comments have been backed by Petrov himself - who successfully held off Alonso through the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"Overtaking is not possible here," Petrov said when asked by AUTOSPORT. "The Ferrari was behind and he could not overtake here. But I don't know what they can change because they have already built the place.

"To help overtaking, I think you need a faster corner, maybe third or fourth gear and then you have an opportunity to overtake. If at Turn 7, the hairpin onto the back straight, if that corner was like Turn 1 then I am sure it would be better."

Yas Marina circuit boss Richard Cregan said over the Abu Dhabi weekend that the track was always looking at ways to make itself better.

"We extended the run off at Turn 8 this year as we felt there was space to do it, and we reconfigured the barriers in that area as they were not ideal," he said.

"We are always looking at various different elements that we can improve. If you stop doing that you should stop running the circuit. So we are looking at different circuits, the way others run races, and we will pick the best bits and improve the circuit."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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