Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Abu Dhabi F1 weather: Will drivers need wet tyres?

Check out the forecast ahead of the grand prix in the UAE capital on Sunday

Many sports require more than one eye kept on the weather - not least Formula One.

So when race day approaches, and the minutest of details are pored over, the climate conditions are among the most important.

For the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix it has often been straightforward for the F1 teams with the dry, desert climate bringing little to no sign of rain and warm winter temperatures. That means the wet tyres are kept tucked away in the paddock.

But it isn't always like that.

For this weekend, drivers and the tens of thousands of fans descending on the capital for qualifying on Saturday and race day on Sunday can expect it to be pleasantly calm.

Cloud will cover parts of the UAE during Saturday, while temperatures will reach around 27°C making it comfortable for shirt-sleeved race-goers.

There will be light winds, reaching a maximum speed of 38 km per hour, according to the National Center of Meteorology.

It added that humidity will be felt in the evening as well as on Sunday morning. Some areas may experience fog and low visibility, which was the case this morning.

2018 - the year it rained

There was a 40 per cent chance of rain over Yas Marina Circuit for last year's Grand Prix.

Never in the previous nine races hosted in Abu Dhabi had there been a drop of rain. A light shower preceded the first practice in 2010, but it was brief and did not cause any disruption.

The cars were set up for dry conditions and of course none of the drivers had experienced the track in the wet before.

It was a windy and wild evening and within half an hour of the race starting it was raining over Abu Dhabi island but not on Yas Island.

Then, as leader Daniel Ricciardo started lap 25, the skies opened. It added an extra element to the race as fans wondered whether the drivers would head into the pits to change tyres or continue in the hope that the rain passed without much drama.

Despite heavy falls and lightning reported between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the worst of the weather avoided Yas Island with the only significant case of November Rain coming from the Guns N Roses concert afterwards.

Unsettled spell in the UAE

For the thousands of race-goers who don't reside in the UAE and have flown in to the country just for the race, they may be surprised to hear that just a couple of weeks ago the streets were awash with water and schools were closed for the day because of the weather.

While bad weather is rare in the UAE, when it does arrive the rain can be torrential and can cause major disruption.

November in particular is a transitional month when air pressure changes create unstable conditions with high winds and storms, like those seen this year and last year.

Updated: November 30, 2019 10:23 AM

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