Setting the scene for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Setting the scene for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Built with a bottomless budget, the Yas Marina circuit has thus far failed to provide a thrilling race since Formula 1 came to town in 2009. Edd Straw sets the scene for an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that most hope will buck that trend

Abu Dhabi is the poster child of Formula 1's expansion into new markets. A money-no-object facility - the Yas Marina circuit - complete with a bright, shiny hotel, a day/twilight/night race and a monstrous race-hosting fee that must trigger broad grins on the faces of both Bernie Ecclestone and the team owners every time they think about the place. In short, it's good news for the sport. But while you can't question the island state's commitment to F1, there is something about the place that leaves you with an empty feeling.

For a track constructed with what was effectively an infinite budget, it's a little underwhelming. Don't fall into the track of thinking that a slow corner isn't difficult or a test of driver skill, because despite the common perception that only fast corners matter, there is a lot to be said for the more technical turns. But with the vast majority of corners either second or third gear, there's only so far that the flashy centrepiece hotel and pitlane exit tunnel can go towards thrilling the watching world. What really matters is whether it can produce a race worthy of the expenditure for the first time.

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