Hello everyone. Before I begin, it would be completely amiss of me not to mention the chaos that is currently taking place over the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Sandy About To Land
Obviously, many of you who read this blog will be aware that category one Hurricane Sandy is about to make landfall over New Jersey, bringing with it sustained winds of approximately 90 mph, heavy rain and a dangerous storm surge. Non-American television news channels are beginning to cover the story to a reasonable degree, but as expected with mainstream news, they are dipping in and out of US election coverage, home news and other things as well. If you want round-the-clock coverage and updates from Sandy then look no further than the live stream for ABC 7 New York.
Formula 1 couldn’t be further from the minds of many people in the eastern third of the US, but the show goes on, with the teams having almost completed a rapid journey from Delhi to the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marina twilight race is next on the calendar, with Sebastian Vettel now 13 points clear of Fernando Alonso, after both produced fighting drives to first and second place in the Indian Grand Prix.
This week was going to be a continuation of the warm and dry trend from the last three events, no doubt about it…
That was, until this afternoon. A large weather system developed over the Persian Gulf between Iran and the UAE. High winds at the leading edge of the system created a monumental sandstorm this afternoon over Abu Dhabi. Palm trees in the city were blown over and motorists faced extremely difficult driving conditions. Ricardo Penteado, who works for the Renault engine concern looking after Kimi Raikkonen’s unit in the rear of the Lotus at each grand prix, shot this short video today as he was travelling back from Yas Island (where the circuit is located) towards the city…
Needless to say, if conditions like these are ever faced during a race weekend there would be no chance to run. Sandstorms obviously create a two-part problem. You cannot simply wait for the winds to ease off and then say ‘off you go chaps.’ With some fairly deep amounts of sand building up at the side of the road, it would take the track marshals and course officials some time to remove enough sand and dust in order to make the track usable.
Once the wind died down, the locals then got a second surprise with showers affecting parts of the city, as the large swathe of cloud just out to sea then skirted the coastline.
Wind and associated dust could become a real issue for team personel this week in the lead-up top the event. It will be sunny for most of the time through Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but fresh to strong afternoon winds will generate, creating a high level of dust haze and possibly one more sandstorm as severe as today’s event. There is also a chance of convective showers delevoping – mainly during late-afternoon.
Early data runs suggest that these unsettled conditions may continue through to Friday and the two practice sessions could be problematic due to a moderate breeze, creating the potential for dust haze, along with the risk of afternoon showers developing.
On Saturday and Sunday things will ease down a little, with plenty of sunshine as the showers fade away, but there will still be a light-to-moderate breeze at times coming chiefly from the north. Temperatures will remain warm, with maximum ambient ranging from 29 to 32 degrees Celsius throughout the course of this week.
In summary, there is a lot going on – both with Hurricane Sandy and the potential for an unsettled and windy week at Yas Marina. I will be monitoring the latest data over the coming days and any snippets of interest will of course go up via the Twitter feed, ahead of the next forecast update on this page on Thursday.