Everything you need to know about the coming 2023 Abu Dhabi F1 GP
The 2023 Formula 1 season will finish with the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the Yas Marina Circuit.
What to Watch the Final 2023 F1 Race For?
With many battles already decided in the season, mainly the World Drivers' and Constructors' championships, clearly dominated by Red Bull and Max Verstappen, there are still some things to define before the season's end.
While the Top 3 positions in the WDC are already set, with the Red Bull pair of Verstappen and Sergio Pérez followed by Lewis Hamilton in his struggling Mercedes, the Top 5 of the drivers' standings hasn't been settled yet. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) is currently fourth with 200 points, followed by Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso. The two Spaniards have scored the same amount of points so far, but Sainz is ahead due to his win in the Singapore Grand Prix.
The two Spanish racers are closely followed by Lando Norris and his McLaren MCL60, which has probably been the second-best car in most of the second half of the season. Norris has 195 points and has to recover from crashing out in last weekend's Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc, who was arguably the best driver of the most recent Grand Prix, is currently seventh for Ferrari with 188 points and has a chance of entering the Top 5 after the chequered flag is waved at Abu Dhabi.
However, the most important fight for the Ferrari drivers (Sainz and Leclerc) in the upcoming race is in the World Constructors' Championship, with the Scuderia only four points behind Mercedes (Hamilton and George Russell) for second place, far behind Red Bull but with huge importance.
Mercedes (392 points) has struggled in the last two races due to different circumstances and the best result for the team in those two rounds was Hamilton's seventh place in the Las Vegas Strip, while Ferrari (388) achieved Pole Position in Las Vegas and fought for the victory against Red Bull.
Moreover, McLaren (Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri) seemed poised to finish the season at least in fourth place among teams, but a difficult night and only point scored in Las Vegas has brought Aston Martin (Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll) closer to the Woking-based team.
McLaren has 284 points right now, while Aston Martin has scored 273 and had a big night in Las Vegas, with Lance Stroll bringing 10 points home and Alonso scoring a couple as well.
Alpine (Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly) has secured sixth place in the WCC with 120 points, while the last four teams: Williams (28 points), AlphaTauri (21), Alfa Romeo (16 points) and Haas (12 points) are separated by just 16 points. Any big result for any of those teams in the final race could have huge implications in the WCC and for their financial outlook.
2023 Abu Dhabi GP Facts & Figures
The 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 15th race at the place since 2009. The event will be the final race of the year for the 12th time since entering the Grand Prix calendar and for the 10th consecutive year.
Red Bull has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi and six overall (2009, 2010 and 2013). On its side, Mercedes has won six of the last nine editions of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel won the first two Abu Dhabi Grands Prix back in 2009 for Red Bull. In the following season, Vettel and Red Bull won again at Abu Dhabi, which sealed Vettel’s first World Drivers’ Championship.
Lewis Hamilton won in 2011 for McLaren-Mercedes, while Kimi Raikkonen took a famous victory in the 2012 edition (his first in three years). Vettel and Red Bull dominated in 2013 before Hamilton sealed his second championship with a dominant win in 2014.
Nico Rosberg won in 2015 for Mercedes, and then he sealed his only championship with second place in 2016 (behind Hamilton). Bottas took the 2017 edition for Mercedes, while Hamilton controlled the 2018 and 2019 events from Pole Position.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull won the 2020 round and the 2021 title decider, which has been widely claimed as a controversial race, with the FIA ultimately replacing the 2021 Race Director Michael Masi for his mishandling of the Safety Car in the final lap of the event. The Dutchman also won the 2022 edition of the Grand Prix.
Hamilton is the most successful driver at Abu Dhabi, with five wins. On the other hand, Mercedes’ and Red Bull's six victories are the most among teams in Abu Dhabi. Vettel and Verstappen follow Hamilton with three victories at the venue.
Yas Marina Circuit Track Info
The original layout of the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi was designed by Hermann Tilke. Since 2021, the track has seen changes to its layout, including changing the Turn 5, 6, and 7 section and turning into just one corner. Also, the old section between turns 11 and 14 was also converted into a faster corner.
The track was previously a 5.554-km circuit with 21 corners, but was changed to a 5.281-km long circuit and has 16 corners since the 2021 event. The track is clearly faster and the new Turn 5 is definitely better than the previous complex seen in that area of the circuit.
The track has one of the most spectacular pit exits in Formula 1, as the pit exit street crosses under the track through a tunnel.
The lap records at the old layout of the Yas Marina Circuit are held by Max Verstappen from the 2021 race, the first edition in the new layout. The Red Bull driver put up a 1:22.109 min lap in 2021's Q3 for the outright Fastest Lap in the circuit. Moreover, he put up the Fastest Lap of the race with a 1:26.103 Lap Record on lap 39.
2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Tyres
The dry tyres for the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the C3 as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C5 as P Zero Red soft.
Pirelli's Head of Motorsport, Mario Isola, explained the plans for the weekend: “We go from the lights of Las Vegas to the Abu Dhabi sunset in the space of just a few days, after a journey of just over 13,000 kilometres, for a race that is now well-established as the season-closer. Yas Marina will host the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the 15th time this weekend, and 11 of those have marked the final race of the season.
The track was modified in 2021 to make it faster and more flowing, which also created extra overtaking opportunities, as we saw over the last two races there. Yas Marina is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to tyre demands, despite the vertical loads on the front axle in particular. As a result, we’ve selecting the softest three compounds, with C3 as the hard, C4 as the medium, and C5 as the soft.
This is the same choice as last year, and also an identical selection to that seen at Las Vegas last weekend: confirmation of the versatility of the current compounds.
As has become customary now, there will be a test day on the Tuesday after the grand prix with each team fielding two cars: one for young drivers and the other in theory for testing tyres. However, there will be no new compounds to try out: the FIA recently communicated that the 2024 compounds will be the same as this year, with the only change being that there are now five rather than six available of them, due to the elimination of the C0 (which was never used during a race weekend this year).
So the test could be helpful for the teams to work on tyre management by gathering data for next season. The teams will have a predetermined tyre allocation for the test. The car doing the tyre work will have 10 sets available at the test, consisting of one C1, one C2, two C5, and three sets each of C4 and C3. Meanwhile, the car for young drivers will have two sets each of C3 and C5 available as well as four sets of C4.”
The minimum starting pressures for the tyres will be 22.0 PSI (front) and 20.0 PSI (rear).
2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Weather Forecast
Friday, Nov 24th - FP1 & FP2
Max. temperature: 28°C
Chance of rain: 3%
Saturday, Nov 25th - FP3 & Qualifying
Max. temperature: 27°C
Chance of rain: 17%
Sunday, Nov 26th - Race
Max. temperature: 28°C
Chance of rain: 0%
Who will be on the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium?
Max Verstappen will finish the season with the highest winning percentage in a single campaign regardless of what happens in the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Dutchman has already won a single-season record of 18 races this year, and if he doesn't win on Sunday he'd still have a winning percentage of 81.82% in 2023, while a victory would give him 19 wins in 22 events (86.36%).
The previous record for winning percentage in a season belonged to Alberto Ascari and Ferrari in 1952 with 75% (six wins in eight Grands Prix).
A fourth consecutive victory for Verstappen at Abu Dhabi seems inevitable at this point, and perhaps his teammate or the McLaren drivers could be the only 'threats' throughout the weekend.
The prediction for the podium of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is 1. Max Verstappen, 2. Sergio Pérez, 3. Lando Norris.
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