The Yas Marina circuit has undergone its first major changes since its debut on the F1 calendar in 2009. Most of the changes have already been transferred onto the venue layout, with F1 Racing Director Micheal Masi set to visit it tomorrow, to ensure that the works will be concluded in time for the season finale, on the 10th-12th of December.
The redesign aimed to make the track faster by cutting the number of slow corners, and, according to Driven International, the team in charge of the renovation joint with MRK 1 Consulting, the goal has been reached, as the lap times will be reduced by "ten to fifteen seconds," taking into account the DRS and the different setups.
Driven International's Managing Director Ben Willshire also explained to racefans.net that the final project is the result of many drafts, all put to test in driving simulators:
"We had a lot of driver-in-the-loop simulation testing. We have tested it in the sim and correlated our data against what Formula 1 are looking for and worked with them quite closely to evaluate the lap."
"So that’s been a big part of the design process using the simulator," he added.
The new Yas Marina will be shorter, with only 16 corners instead of the previous 21, and, consequently, the number of race laps will increase to 58. Three were the areas the changed the most: Turn 4,5 and 6, formerly a chicane and a hairpin, became a single, faster turn.
They won't be the only corners to disappear, as Turns 11 to 14 will become a single one as well, and the final Turn 17 to 20 will be eased.
MRK 1 Managing Director Mark Hughes described how the layout came to its final form with the help of simulations, and how the team's analysis was confirmed by Formula 1's own studies:
“We did our own in-house simulation, which were then also replicated by Formula 1 using their sim technology and it was reassuring to see that they were incredibly similar. It validated the quality of our own in-house simulations.”
Hughes also talked about the shortening of the track length, precisely by 273 meters, adding that it will provide more fun to the fans:
"We’ve got less slow corners as well as the shorter lap distance, but it also means it adds three laps to the race distance, so it’s better for the spectators as well."