Dubbed the “Duel in the Desert,” Yas Marina is the big finale this year. The battle to the end, between Rosberg and Hamilton of Mercedes AMG, comes to a head here, and is do or die for both drivers. Since they are expected to be at the front of the field, if Rosberg wins, Hamilton needs to come second to win the championship. If Rosberg is behind Hamilton, he cannot win the championship.

Yas Marina Featured

Yas Marina is a desert based track, in the city of Abu Dhabi. Its smooth pavement, and many 90⸰ corners, allow for good tyre life. However, in order to make for more exciting racing, Pirelli have offered a tyre setup one step softer this year, as compared to last. This year will feature the red banded supersoft, and yellow banded soft for the Yas Marina finale.

This will allow for more grip over one lap, but may offer increased degradation over a stint. As we all know, a race can be won and lost in the pits, so the right tyre strategy is important. Let’s see what Pirelli has to say about this track.

Pirelli’s Yas Marina Preview

It’s always a pleasure to return to Abu Dhabi and this year’s event will be even more significant than usual, with the drivers’ championship being decided and double points available. The strategy is normally greatly affected by the unusual track evolution, due to the falling temperatures caused by the late afternoon start. This was the case in Bahrain as well, which turned out to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable races of the season earlier this year. As a result, the free practice sessions will be particularly crucial, as the teams try to gather as much information as possible about how the car will perform on both compounds: not just with different fuel loads, but also with different track temperatures. As so many points are on offer, there is a big opportunity for teams that have less to lose to try an unexpected strategy, in order to make some potentially significant gains.Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
I’ve never driven a Formula One car in Abu Dhabi but I like the track, especially because of its high levels of safety and the long straight that provides a few overtaking opportunities, thanks also to the use of DRS. As the race starts at 5pm, with ambient and track temperatures gradually dropping, the ability to adapt to a changing situation is essential. These varying conditions affect tyre pressures too. Having said that, the biggest stress for the drivers this year will be the fact that the race counts for double points. Even with his normally qui important point advantage, current Championship leader could see it all taken away from him by just a simple mistake.Jean Alesi, Pirelli consultant

Yas Marina hairpin

Being that this race is a twilight race, it always makes things interesting. The track temperature will be on the decline throughout the race, which changes how the tyres work. All of that needs to be taken into account, as the cars will be on ice with cold tyres. In order to keep the heat up, they may need to change their strategy on the fly.

Since there are double points up for grabs, that makes this much harder to swallow for the loser of the championship. Just last year, if we were in the same position, and Rosberg was first here, Hamilton would only have to come 6th in order to claim the championship.

It will all be going down early on Sunday morning, but the action starts in Free Practice 1 this morning!

Track Profile: Yas Marina Circuit

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.