F1 pundit and Red Bull
Racing consultant David Coulthard
drove a two-seater F1 car around the Yas Marina Circuit
in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.
Here the Scot, a winner of 13 grand's prix, describes a lap of the 5.554 kilometre-track, which will host its inaugural race next weekend, the 17th and final round in the 2009 FIA F1 World Championship...
"Having had the opportunity to drive the circuit, what struck me is that it's a two-stage track; the first half of the lap until corner nine is typical of the new type of track.
"There's the fast section at the beginning from Turn One to the Turn Four tight hairpin with the grandstand literally overhead, giving great viewing for the spectators.
"The 1.2 kilometre back straight should give an opportunity for some slipstreaming and overtaking and then the back section of the circuit has a real street circuit feel to it, where you come along the section that takes you to the hotel and then passes underneath it, via a series of 90 degree right-handers and left-handers before opening out to the end of the lap and a medium speed corner on to the start-finish straight.
"The pit lane entry is very challenging, as is the exit, which is actually in a tunnel under the circuit and is going to make it particularly challenging for the drivers coming in and out of pit stops.
"There are great facilities and air-conditioned garages which will make working conditions in the heat a little bit easier and also having an evening race will obviously take some of the heat out of what can be a very hot venue.
"I think the twilight aspect of the race will be more of a visual treat for the spectators and the TV audience, but I think for the drivers it will be absolutely fine, as there is enough overhead lighting to make it blend seamlessly from day into night, no problem."David Coulthard