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Ocon: Positively cambered corners could improve ‘boring’ Abu Dhabi GP

Daniel Herrero

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Monday 21st December, 2020 - 8:43am

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Esteban Ocon in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Esteban Ocon has suggested that positively cambering the Yas Marina Circuit’s corners could help improve on a “boring” Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

This year’s Formula 1 season finale was a typically unspectacular race at the Middle Eastern venue.

While the result itself was an upset, with Max Verstappen winning from the first non-Mercedes-powered pole of 2020, it was the sixth straight victory from pole at Yas Marina.

Furthermore, the top three on the grid have taken the chequered flag in the same positions in four of the last six Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.

Despite a layout which, in two dimensions, looks like it should promote passing, that is generally not the case.

According to Ocon, addressing the camber of the corners is one possible solution.

“I heard it was pretty boring,” said the Renault driver.

“It was very tough to overtake, that’s very clear, quite difficult to follow into the last sector.

“(With) all the low speed, off-camber (corners) you really need the grip of the car. That’s the key to passing there.

“I think for sure having a bit more camber in the corners would help, because they are all off-camber, so you really slide.

“Obviously it’s a challenge, but it’s not nice for following another car, it makes it tricky. I’m pretty sure we could do things better, but it requires work.”

Sky Sports F1 expert Martin Brundle expressed a similar view in his post-grand prix column.

“In theory, it should work well (for passing) given that the Turn 7 hairpin is followed by a long straight, a slow chicane, another long straight and a slow double chicane,” he wrote.

“The problem is there are simply too many off-camber corners which exacerbate the aerodynamic problems of following other aero-laden cars, and the first and third sectors are largely ‘follow the leader’.

“The final sector especially always demands tyre-temperature management.”

Ocon’s 2020 team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, believes that “grim” races could be addressed by altering the track layout or using one of Yas Marina’s alternative layouts.

“It’s a shame because it is such a great venue and I certainly don’t want to talk the place down because I want to keep coming back here because it is amazing,” said the Australian.

“But maybe we could play around with the layouts – there is a few alternatives around here – because unfortunately on Sunday it is tricky.

“It’s sometimes a bit grim from an entertainment point of view.”

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