sports gazette

Mark Webber slams Abu Dhabi circuit: “It’s just an Expensive Car Park"

Published: 21 Nov 2015

Next weekend sees the climax of the 2015 Formula One season at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

A Hermann Tilka designed circuit, which was first held in 2009 and was also the first to hold a day-night race in a twilight setting.

There can be no doubting the beauty of the circuit, with its location in a growing emirate classified as the fourth most expensive city in the world.

It does hold a rightful place on the F1 calendar especially when you consider the growth that the UAE has had in world economics.

However, the track almost encapsulates the evolving nature of F1, from a history and racing tradition, to an economical suitability, for the best suitors.

Mark Webber, former F1 driver for Red Bull was speaking at the Sports Writers Festival in London last week and gave his thoughts on the subject.

“There is obviously television pressure to design tracks with long straights and tight corners because aerodynamically they think we can’t follow each other through the fast corners. Which was the case in the late 2000's.

“You need those tight corners in a track, I accept that, but now you have circuits for example Abu Dhabi – which is like driving in a car park.

“Its 2nd gear for most of the last sector, which is just brain damage for racing drivers and not much of a challenge.”

“Unfortunately there was never ever a good dialogue between ourselves and the track designers.”

Its 2nd gear for most of the last sector, which is just brain damage for racing drivers

They have got some of the new tracks absolutely spot on for racing drivers. Webber noted specifically the Austin Texas circuit in the USA as one for the drivers. 

 It may just be the clouding effect of nostalgia but there are certain race tracks that should be on the racing calendar with financial reasons the major perogative. 

 Formula One broadcaster and writer Maurice Hamilton believes that tracks such as the Istanbul circuit in Turkey, last held in 2011, should be brought back as it provided a real challenge to drivers citing its infamous turn 8 as significant. 

 There certainly is a case for old classics to be returned, as more and more historic tracks are lost each year. Take the historic Imola in San Marino. Last held in 2006, a drivers favourite despite the hauntings of legends who took their last breaths at this magnificent circuit. 

Maurice Hamilton said: “It was a great track for the drivers, a fantastic atmosphere and hugely passionate. Like Monza it was a great place to visit, whilst Monza was more intense Imola was gentile.”

 The F1 calendar continues to grow through its inevitable ever expansive nature, Azerbaijan as an example for 2016.  Whilst threats emerge to places like Monza who may fail the stringent test of F1 survival- an unbearable thought for the F1 universe.  

We can't lose what is important in the sport and hopefully the historic racing features of old tracks are not lost and forgotten in the modern era of a financial suitable race circuit. 


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