Tomorrow’s final F1 meeting of 2021 at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, with a new, more flowing layout, should be memorable, as the two drivers leading the championship are tied on points. This morning, Netherland’s Max Verstappen grabbed pole from 7 time world champion, UK’s Lewis Hamilton, which places the two contenders on the front row of the starting grid.
Needless to say, the race to turn 1 should be thrilling. Because the contending drivers are tied, tomorrow’s contest is winner-takes-all. Well sort of. Unless I misunderstand F1 regulations, if neither finish, Verstappen would take the tie breaker, since he has more poles and wins than Hamilton this season. Based on past similar situations, Senna / Prost comes to mind, I expect some heavy brake-checking by the Netherlander. Regardless, there are other intrigues as Max is starting on soft tires, since he flat-spotted his mediums during qualifying (Q2). Given that Mercedes is starting Lewis on mediums, and that their team Boss, Toto Wolff, is the absolute strategic master, the race may play out during pit stops, rather than on the track. Regardless, I will be in front of the big screen TV at 8AM EST Sunday when they roll off for the observation lap.
TBH, I’ve not spent much time driving race sims this year. But since tomorrow’s race has all the makings of an epic confrontation, I decided to get some hot laps and hopefully a race or two completed on the new track layout at Yaz. I jumped in the home race seat.
Unfortunately, Codemasters’ F1 2021 does not have the new track design. IMHO, the original layout left much to be desired. There were too many chicanes, no elevation changes, and a funky pit exit that required a tight left hand turn within a short tunnel. Since the venue is Abu Dhabi, the facilities undoubtedly are four star. I do not know this to be fact, but I can imagine that the drivers felt the original track design was tedious and boring.
New Yas Marina design
As it has been for seemingly a decade, my favorite F1 mod for any sim, and in this case, AC, is from Race Sim Studio. Since I had the 2020 car, but not the 2021, I hopped over there. On sale for like $3. Sweet.
Back to Race Department tor the skin pack. Edit: because this skin pack is an April release, many of the included skins have been updated and are available as single downloads for the rivet counters among us.
OK, this seems like a lot of tinkering for some hot lapping, but it really wasn’t bad and hopefully the results speak for themselves.
Lewis’ Mercedes W12
The office. My F1 friends and I always laugh at how big the driver’s watches were during post race interviews, now carried out in the pit lane. Apparently, it extends to their gloves.
Max’s Red Bull Honda RB16B
The Red Bull cockpit
My F1 wheel setup