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Williams driver Pastor Maldonado takes a corner during the first practice at Yas Marina Circuit.
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado takes a corner during the first practice at Yas Marina Circuit.

Yas Circuit looks to curb driver shortcuts with kerb redesign for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Raised kerbing has been deployed on seven of the corners at Yas Marina Circuit in a new initiative aimed at prevent drivers attempting to gain time.

ABU DHABI // Spectators at Yas Marina Circuit yesterday would have to be very keen-eyed to spot the latest initiative being used - raised kerbs at seven corners of the track.

In a bid to stop Formula One drivers attempting to gain time around the 5.5-kilometre circuit by going over the kerbing, or running wide over them, they have been raised slightly by an adjustable design, created by staff at the circuit.

Richard Cregan, the track's chief executive, said: "We looked at it last year. It is a small change in terms of kerbs but we listened to what the drivers had to say last year and our sporting team came up with a very interesting solution."

He said the idea of raised kerbs was shown to Charlie Whiting, the F1 race director. "He said 'fantastic, let's go for them', and the result of their work is now here."

The raised kerbs for tomorrow's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are at turns 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 18, and 19. The may vary slightly, with higher kerbs in slow, tight corners.

Cregan is particularly excited with the design because it can be altered for the various forms of cars that race at the facility during the year.

"The great thing is that it is an inner kerb that can actually be exchanged," he said. "It is the first time any circuit has used it. You can pull out a certain section of the kerb and change it for different kinds of racing. It weighs about two tonnes so you are not going to [move] it in any kind of car and it is bolted into position.

"The great thing is you have got that flexibility, and I think it is something I imagine a lot of other circuits will start using."

Cregan and his team completed last-minute preparations on the circuit ahead of yesterday's practice.

The sandstorm that hit the emirate earlier in the week led to a fresh coating of sand on the track, and Cregan revealed that a "deep clean of the site" had picked up over four tonnes of sand from the circuit as they ensured it was in ideal preparation for F1 cars to run on it.

It was announced earlier in the week that the grand prix had been sold out for a fourth successive year, and that achievement is something that makes Cregan proud.

"For us to hit that fourth year running is a great reflection on all the work that everyone has done and most importantly how good an event that we put on for the fans," he said. "That is reflected in the sell-out."

sports@thenational.ae

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