The penultimate race of the 2011 Formula One World Championship takes place in Abu Dhabi and is the home race for Aabar, shareholder and partner of the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. Round 18 will be hosted at the impressive 5.554 km Yas Marina Circuit and is the season’s only twilight event, with the race starting at 17.00 on Sunday 13 November.
The Yas Marina Circuit features six corners below 100 kph - only Monaco, Singapore and Valencia have more. The circuit also features four straights where the cars exceed 285 kph - the same number as in Monza. With an estimated 3740 gear changes, the race features some 20 per cent more than the season average.
For Ross, “the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the final ‘home’ race of the year for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. Our shareholder and partner Aabar Investments is based in Abu Dhabi, so it will be a busy and exciting race weekend for us, with special events taking place at the race track and in the city. The Yas Marina Circuit is without doubt one of the most visually impressive Formula One facilities to have been built in recent years. The race has very quickly established itself as a wonderful, sell-out weekend, loved by drivers, teams, fans and guests alike. We are looking forward to our visit, and of course the added challenge of the later start and ‘twilight’ race."
Performance-wise, the team enjoyed a strong weekend in India, and hopes for more of the same at the season's penultimate race: "On the back of a two-car points finish, and a very good team performance, at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, we will be working towards a similar result in Abu Dhabi. It would be a very great pleasure to achieve this at Aabar’s home race.”
Norbert believes that “after a very successful premiere in India, Formula One's third visit to Abu Dhabi will highlight another of our sport's proudest success stories of recent years. The facilities and welcome at the Yas Marina Circuit are second-to-none and embody the commitment to excellence that defines the country's relationship with our sport. The circuit features relatively few high-speed corners, so mechanical grip and traction are at a premium, while the powertrain is also highly stressed: the percentage of the lap spent at wide open throttle, as well as the total number of gearshifts in the race, are both well above the season average.
"Our target in Abu Dhabi is to build upon our recent form, which has seen at least one of our drivers finish among the top six in four of the last six races. This is the maximum we can currently achieve, given that the six cars of the three top teams are generally producing better lap times than our current technical package. Like Germany, Great Britain and Malaysia, Abu Dhabi is one of our ‘home’ Grands Prix, where we will recognise the exemplary support and commitment of our partner and shareholder Aabar and mark an important milestone in our racing year.”