Confirmation that changes are to be made to the layout at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit used by the F1 fraternity have been welcomed by the drivers who will be racing there for the third time later this season.
Precipitated by the difficulty Fernando Alonso found in passing Renault's Vitaly Petrov at last year's world championship showdown, and facilitated by the circuit's desire to add MotoGP to a roster that already boasts F1 and V8 Supercars, alterations will be made to the layout ahead of this November's penultimate round and, while yet to be officially revealed, are likely to focus on the two back straights - or, more importantly, the corners that lead onto them.
The first backstretch is preceded by a tight left-right chicane - where Michael Schumacher and Tonio Liuzzi clashed on lap one in 2010 - and a hairpin, while the two straights are linked by another slow left-right combination that could be ironed out. Additionally, the corners at the end of the second straight could also be addressed to hasten the approach to turn 14.
Schumacher is among those in favour of the changes being made.
“We saw last year in the last race with Fernando and Vitaly – that's the reason why it comes into discussion,” the seven-time champion told speedtv.com
, “And, as much as the teams in F1 have worked on the cars, there was probably a need to have circuits in general – I'm not just saying Abu Dhabi – but, in general, make revisions in order to allow overtaking.
“There are some interesting views, and we're very happy to hear that Abu Dhabi, after building a very good track, is open to make further changes in order to see if we can find some guidelines for the future that may improve the overtaking situation. I think it's a good step in the right direction, to see what will be done, what effect it will have."
Following meetings with F1 officials at Sepang, Abu Dhabi circuit chief Richard Cregan confirmed that changes would be made between turns six and nine - at either end of the first back straight - to the approval of Williams veteran Rubens Barrichello.
"it was fair to say that, last year, there were not enough opportunities [to overtake], only if you have a difference in speed greater than five kilometres an hour or so," the Brazilian commented, “It's always good if they have the possibilities, financially, to change the track and maybe to improve that. It's just a great thing. Of course drivers will go there and some will say it's better and some will say it's worse but, as long as it improves the show, it's the way forward.”