Why is it that when we have a new F1 venue, the talk is always of the architecture? I’ve been a life-long fan of motor sport yet am not particularly interested in the design of paddock buildings or grandstands. When people eulogise about the Nordschleife, Spa or Monza, it’s about the corners and the test of skill and bravery they present to the driver; it’s irrelevant whether a pit lane exit is underground, a track passes underneath an hotel or that a race finishes under floodlights and is followed by a rock concert. These are just gimmicks designed to overshadow an unimaginative circuit layout.
Abu Dhabi is, as Martin Brundle put it, a technical track; it’s not flowing, nor does it contain any great corners to sort the great from the good. You just know, when Bernie raves about a track and how it sets new standards other places such as Silverstone should emulate, that you’re going to be underwhelmed.
Abu Dhabi resembles the bastard child of the Eden project and the Valencia dockland circuit; a dull layout surrounded by architectural bling.
One wonders what gimmicks the next multi-billion dollar facility will boast. How about a circuit built in a Disneyland-style theme park featuring a race that ends at dawn, followed by a rock concert by the winner of X Factor?
Nicholas Bird, Fareham, Hampshire