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Yelloly explains benefit of Abu Dhabi testing for team

Nick Yelloly will drive the AMR21 for the first time as Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team prepares for 2022 with the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test.

Nick Yelloly

Simulator Driver Yelloly has been at the Silverstone HQ for around 50 days of simulator driving in 2021, primarily helping the team prepare for next season, as well as helping support Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll with pre-event preparation.

The official rookie test takes place following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 14th-15th and will prove essential in helping the team get ready for its advanced simulator based in the upcoming new factory.

In the more immediate future, the test helps the team prepare for Pirelli's switch from 13-inch tyres to 18 inches next year, which will have a significant effect on the cars.

"I think this test will help us develop our simulator for when the new factory is up and running," says Yelloly.

"It's very useful to get a feeling and perception for the tyres. We're going to be moving from 13-inches to 18-inches next year, but the tyre development is always ongoing."

After running on December 14th, Nick will stay in Abu Dhabi to observe the second day of the test, with Sebastian and Lance also set to take part in the two-day test. Lance will undertake Tuesday's running alongside Nick before Sebastian takes over for Wednesday.

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Uncover the story of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with our in-depth race report. Discover the data underpinning our race and hear from Lance, Sebastian and CEO & Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer as they review the Yas Marina race.

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Lance Stroll, 2021 Abu Dhabi GP

"I think it's good for me to work with them [Lance and Sebastian]," Yelloly explains. "I work with both in the sim.

"We make it a more regular thing now, so I can really listen into their comments and questions.

"Having not driven the car [ahead of the test], you want to try and get as much information as you can because you're doing the day-to-day work.

"And to be there and listen in at the test will only enhance that and I can try and get some driving tips."

While Yelloly's testing will help the team's preparations for 2022, he's also been inputting into next year's car.

"Our focus was switched to the 2022 car relatively early on," said Yelloly. "So, we've been doing less of the actual weekend stuff.

"We have been doing pre-event work, though, particularly when it's been three or four races in five weekends. Obviously, Seb and Lance cannot come back and do it."

The pre-event work was the first step in the team's preparations for the three Middle East races that end the 2021 season. Qatar and Saudi Arabia were brand new for 2021, while Abu Dhabi has undergone significant changes to the track layout.

Yelloly explains the process of learning a new track.

"Usually if it's a new circuit, and we know that it's only been recently laid, we presume that the grip could be very, very low," he says.

"We'll do a guesstimate of grip levels, first with low grip, and then have two or three further options upwards on grip level, just so we cover all bases.

"We assess if it's going to be really tyre sensitive, and decide which way we want to go on mechanical balance as a start.

"And then when we have those, usually in three or four different grip levels, we will work through on ride height scans.

"Usually, the wing level is very important, and we do a scan to see what lap times are created with high, medium and low downforce.

"I think that was part of the reason we were really quite competitive in Qatar, and it helped us throughout the whole weekend, both on tyre degradation and on overall performance."

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Race report