Getty Images

Abu Dhabi in talks over F1 layout change to aid overtaking

1 Comment

Formula 1 track designer Hermann Tilke has confirmed talks are ongoing regarding a possible layout change for the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to try and aid overtaking.

Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix offered little in the way of on-track action as Valtteri Bottas took a commanding victory for Mercedes ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who vented his frustration over the difficulty of following other cars and the lack of overtaking spots.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the race, track designer Tilke confirmed a layout tweak was under consideration in the hope of making overtaking more viable.

“We have an idea to change one corner. It’s a very small change but maybe it has a lot of impact for overtaking,” Tilke said.

“We are in discussions.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed there was a need to investigate what changes could be made to the Yas Marina Circuit to improve the on-track spectacle.

“It is something that we should certainly look at. It is such a wonderful setting and a fantastic background to sign off the season,” Horner told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

“If there was a couple of tweaks that could be done, that would introduce better overtaking opportunities, I am sure the commercial rights holder would be interested to do that.

“Today was not F1 at its best. We have seen more exciting races this season.”

Daniel Ricciardo was the only driver who qualified in the top 10 not to score a point in Abu Dhabi on Sunday following his retirement, which accounted for the single position gain through the race of those finishing fourth to eighth.

Fernando Alonso was the only points scorer to gain multiple places, rising from 11th to ninth after passing Williams’ Felipe Massa.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

Leave a comment

Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”