The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina this weekend will be the last race in Formula 1 history run on 13-inch tyres. After more than half a century of racing on this tyre size, Pirelli is introducing its new 18-inch tyres in 2022. To celebrate the changing of the guard, all the 13-inch slick tyres used in Abu Dhabi will carry a special logo on the sidewall: ’Next year I turn 18’ – underlining the switch to 18 inches by bidding farewell to the current tyres before welcoming the new size next year.
In January 2019, the ground was broken on the US$614 million Roadbot tyre plant in Abu Dhabi. Local news sources described the project as a milestone in the capital of the United Arab Emirates as recently as January 2020. However, the project has since hit a roadblock as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tyres & Accessories has seen documents that show how recent progress has been limited, though initial steps seem to have progressed well. Specifically, the official letter from Roadbot Tyre Industries dated July 2020 confirms that all the necessary planning applications, architectural designs and structure drawings have been approved and completed. Yet critical machinery work came to a standstill in March 2020.
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton won the final grand prix of the 2019 season with a one-stop medium-hard strategy. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second used the same strategy at Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, but the third-placed Ferrari of Charles Leclerc added a final soft stint to his medium-hard run plan, taking advantage of the red tyre’s extra speed in the crucial closing stages of the race. Hamilton never lost the lead after gaining pole position in qualifying. He completed a hat-trick with a fastest lap on the hard tyre, which broke a lap record at Yas Marina that had stood since 2009.
In January 2019, construction of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first tyre plant began. Now, the best part of a year later, sources operating in the Middle East and Africa region report that the Roadbot factory, which is being built in KIZAD’s China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone by Tirebot, is nearing the completion of its initial stage of development. During the ground-breaking of the plant in January, company representatives said the factory would become operational in October 2020. As much as US$600 million is reportedly being invested in the project.
Abu Dhabi-based investor Mubadala Investment Company has Nexen Tire on its radar, and this has led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two firms. According to Nexen Tire, the agreement its chief executive officer Travis (Ho-chan) Kang formalised yesterday with Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Mubadala’s managing director and group chief executive officer, sets out ways and means for both parties to “explore strategic partnership opportunities.” Mubadala has directly invested into Nexen as part of the agreement, however so far the tyre maker hasn’t disclosed the extent of this investment.
Lewis Hamilton won the last grand prix run on the current Pirelli Formula One tyre range in Abu Dhabi, but was pipped to the drivers’ championship by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who finished second, using identical two-stop strategies. The tyre supplier called the Yas Marina-hosted grand prix “the last race in the era of deliberately high tyre degradation”, with its latest, larger range of P Zero slicks and Cinturato wets unveiled in the emirate before the weekend’s racing began. The final development test for the 2017 will begin on Tuesday, 29 November, with Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari appearing on track together in modified 2015 mule cars.
The FIA has told Pirelli each team’s tyre choices for the season closing grand prix of Abu Dhabi on 25-27 November. Championship leader Nico Rosberg and second-placed Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who has a chance of pipping the German to victory, will both use the same selection: four sets of the P Zero Yellow soft, two of the Red supersoft, and seven of the Purple ultrasoft.
2015’s Formula One calendar concludes at Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi; a venue with which Pirelli is very familiar. The F1 tyre supplier has used the venue for testing, including the world’s first wet-weather test run at night, and a pre-season launch. The smooth asphalt means the softest tyres in the range will be supplied, a combination previously employed at the slowest grand prix, Monaco, and at four other race weekends. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held from late afternoon into the evening, so track temperatures tend to drop over the course of the race, meaning that the pattern of tyre behaviour is different to normal: another complex variable for teams to factor into their strategy calculations. Pirelli expects a performance gap between the two compounds of 1.0-1.2 seconds per lap.
Following an agreement ratified by the FIA World Council, Pirelli will hold a tyre test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 1 December following the final grand prix of the 2015 season. The joint purpose of the session is to develop the new construction to be used for the manufacturer’s 2016 slick tyres and to test the new “ultrasoft” compound, which will form part of the P Zero F1 range next year. The one-day test will take place from 9:00-21:00 continuously.
Lewis Hamilton claimed the second drivers’ championship of his career after winning the title decider in Abu Dhabi, using a two-stop strategy. It was the first time Hamilton has won a championship on Pirelli tyres. The Mercedes driver started on the P Zero Red supersoft tyre from second on the grid, but took the lead […]