Abu Dhabi’s F1 circuit could be tweaked to aid overtaking for 2018, track designer Hermann Tilke has revealed to F1 News.
Sunday’s season-ending race proved largely processional with only one overtaking move for position taking place in the top 10 after the first lap.
The dearth of passing has proved a perennial problem at the Yas Marina Circuit since the £800m venue opened in 2009 and drivers and fans this year were again left bemoaning the lack of wheel-to-wheel action.
A blunt Max Verstappen, who followed Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for much of Sunday, described his race as “boring”, adding “if I had a pillow in the car I could have fallen asleep”. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, said he would have needed a “1.4 second” pace advantage to have a chance of overtaking team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the victory.
But F1 track architect Tilke, who has designed the majority of new circuits on the calendar, says moves are afoot to help alleviate the problems for next year.
“We have an idea to change one corner,” he told Ted Kravitz in Sunday’s post-race Notebook.
“It’s a very small change but maybe it has a lot of impact for overtaking.
However, Tilke believes Sunday’s spectacle was not helped by the fact the cars largely qualified in pace order.
“The faster ones were in front of the slower ones, what can you do?” he added.
“If it is lined up in this way, you will never overtake.”
Hamilton leads calls for track change
The Yas Marina circuit, built on a man-made island, is one of F1’s most visually spectacular facilities, while the event has increasingly proved one of the most popular for fans from Europe to visit.
However, complaints about the track’s overtaking-unfriendly nature are long standing and Hamilton has urged organisers to address the eminent problems in order to do more justice to the event itself.
“It’s such a beautiful place here in Abu Dhabi, everyone has such an amazing time,” said the world champion.
“If there’s any way we can improve this track to enable us to have these battles… you’ve got these long straights where you can’t even get close enough to utilise them.
“If there’s some way where we can enable us to be able to remain closer in that third sector, I think this will go up in the rankings of a great circuit. I don’t know if they can do it but I know there’s money to do it but I just hope… I have hope for Abu Dhabi to get better.”