Abu Dhabi F1 2021 setup guide
Abu Dhabi is returning in F1 2021 and just like in previous years, will be the season closing event in 2021.
Yas Marina is a track which really wants to promote strong overtaking, and has been the stage for some exciting races in past seasons. However, despite the heavy emphasis on the two main DRS zones, the rest of the track is very technical, which makes overtaking rather hard,
The Yas Marina track itself remains unchanged in F1 2021, and consists of a couple of extremely long straights, one after the other. Both of these straights feature DRS zones allowing cars to get side by side heading into the chicanes which sit at the end of each straight.
Because one long straight immediately follows the other, sometimes it can be a good tactic to not ovetake down the first long straight. And instead try to be as close to the car in front heading into the second long straight.
If you employee this tactic, and you do make the overtake stick down the second DRS assisted straight. It will give you almost a whole lap to pull a gap from the car behind before they get a good opportunity to gain their position back.
Abu Dhabi F1 2021 setup options
Due to the Abu Dhabi circuit combining both long straights, and tighter technical sectors, it can be hard to create the perfect Abu Dhabi setup in F1 2021.
Almost any setup will be a form of comprimise. You will either have to comprimise your straight line speed to ensure you’re fast enough through the technical sectors. Or comprimise your speed through these technical sectors to give you ultimate top speed performance.
In F1 2021, you should look to lean more towards the second option. Focus on your car’s top speed, as you will ultimately end up losing more lap time due to excess drag if you run too much downforce. You will also find it very hard to overtake during a race if your aerodynamics are setup too high.
This isn’t to say you should focus entirely on top end speed, like you would at a circuit such as Monza. If you go too aggressive and run minimal aero, you simply wont have enough grip to compete through the technical last sector.
Aerodynamics vs top speed setup priority
The decision on how much aerodynamics to factor into your Abu Dhabi F1 2021 setup comes down to how you want to approach your race. Abu Dhabi is a circuit where you can dominate if you qualify towards the front of the grid using a low downforce setup. In this scenario, your superior top speed will make it very hard for other cars to overtake down the long straights.
This setup approach is also reasonably beneficial if you qualify further down the grid. You will require good top speed to be able to make overtakes during the grand prix.
If you are trying to really compete during qualifying, you should can look to increase your front wing aerodynamics during qualifying, with the intention of lowering this during the race. Even in Parc Ferme conditions, you can change your front wing angle, allowing you to remove some front downforce, effectively giving you a faster car in a straight line during the race.
Abu Dhabi F1 2021 setup focus points
One of the most effective approaches to the perfect Abu Dhabi setup in F1 2021 is to run a lower front wing angle, and medium rear wing setup.
In F1 2021, you will lose more top speed due to higher front wing when compared to higher rear wing. This means you can run a higher rear wing angle without comprimising your top speed too much.
There are sectors around Abu Dhabi where you require a stable rear end. Corners such as turns 3, 15 and 16 are high speed, and turn 3 in particular features a few bumpy areas on track. If you run too low on your rear downforce, you will struggle to keep your car controlled through these corners.
Yas Marina is a rear limited track in F1 2021
Typically, the Abu Dhabi track is a rear limited circuit, and this is no different in F1 2021. This means that your setup and lap time are limited by the amount of rear grip you have.
Circuits with slow corners and heavy acceleration zones rely on the amount of grip your car can produce. And your setup should focus on maximising traction and rear grip during corner exit.
Essentially there will be more stress running through the rear tyres on a lap of Yas Marina in F1 2021. This means you will suffer more rear tyre wear across a lap or a full grand prix.
Turns 7 and 9 are perfect examples of rear limited corners. These are two of the slower corners around Abu Dhabi in F1 2021, and require your car setup to heavily prioritse rear traction.
You should look to focus on running a lower on-throttle differential setup, and even lower rear tyre pressures for Abu Dhabi. Other than the heavy traction zones found at turns 7, 9 and the entire second half of the lap, the overall tyre wear isn’t too high.
Abu Dhabi requires a stiffer rear setup and softer front in F1 2021
Due to a lot of the corners being 90 degree, medium speed turns, you really need to attack the track to achieve a fast lap time. Attacking the track, and carrying as much speed through each corner is key. To attack these corners without destabilizing your car, requires a reasonably stiff rear car setup.
This is really a balancing act however, as running too stiff of a suspension setup in F1 2021 will add extra tyre wear throughout a race distance. You can test this, by completing the tyre management practice program during F1 2021 practice sessions.
Sticking on the theme of attacking each corner, you will find yourself running over kerbs a lot around Abu Dhabi. Ideally you want to look to shorten every corner around the track. And you can do this by placing your car over the inside kerb, and over the outside kerb during corner exit.
To ensure your car doesn’t become too twitchy and unpredictable over the kerbs, you should look to soften your front suspension. This will allow your car to remain stable as the front axle hits each kerb.
Abu Dhabi car setup overview
The aim of the game around Abu Dhabi is to to learn where you can comprimise your car setup. You need to have a low downforce enough setup to allow you to make overtakes or defend during a race. Following that, you should prioritse rear traction, rear rigidity and a softer front suspension setup.
All of these factors combined, should make for a generally well balanced car setup for Abu Dhabi in F1 2021.