Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have encouraged the removal of off-camber corners through the final sector at the Yas Marina Circuit to improve racing.
The venue, which has been an ever-present on the Formula 1 calendar since 2009, underwent an extensive overhaul only two years ago to counteract complaints from both drivers and fans alike that the original track layout negatively impacted overtaking.
The old sequence of corners that made up Turns 17-19 underneath the Yas Hotel were all opened up on the inside to enhance the flow through the closing section of the lap.
But with the previous two visits to the circuit signalling that the renovations have done little to avoid processional races, Verstappen proposed adding more banked corners.
“I think the only thing I would like to change is just the off-camber corners,” Verstappen said. “I think that doesn’t really help the racing. Bit more banked corners would help, so around the hotel they need to bank that instead of off-camber.
“And was it turn seven at that little crest? It always throws you off a little bit and especially when you’re behind, you just lose a lot of traction so that corner also just bank it a bit. That would help.”
While Leclerc conceded the third sector provided a technical challenge for the drivers in qualifying, he agreed that the series of corners made following in the race difficult.
“I like this track actually, especially the last sector is very technical,” Leclerc added. “It’s also very, very difficult to get it right in qualifying because it’s such fine margins.
“And as Max mentioned, it’s very difficult to follow in those off-camber corners but at the same time, during qualifying, as soon as you get it wrong but even by five or 10 centimetres that has huge consequences, which I like in qualifying but I agree with Max that for the race I don’t think that’s great because you struggle a lot to follow in those corners.”
Asked whether he also agreed with Verstappen’s assessment about the inclusion of further banked corners, Leclerc replied: “Yeah, I think it would be nice, it will definitely help racing. It’s a track where there’s already quite a lot of overtaking opportunities, but definitely that will make it even better.”
However, the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix front-row starters may be left disappointed as it was revealed in 2021 that getting rid of the cambered corners was not possible.
This is due to the massive construction work that would be required to change the barriers and the run-off areas, which prompted the revisions to be focused on the kerbs.