Friday, 29 November 2019

PART 2: FIA Drivers' Press Conference: Abu Dhabi GP.

Part Two: Pierre GASLY (Toro Rosso), Carlos SAINZ (McLaren) Daniil KVYAT (Toro Rosso), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Alfa Romeo)

Q: Pierre, how’s it been since Interlagos? Have you been home? What’s the reaction been like in Frand?

Pierre GASLY: Yeah, it was a pretty crazy weekend in and, yeah, after the race it was probably the worst celebration I’ve had, because I had to fly straight back home, so 11pm I was in the plane, and landed Monday afternoon back in France. The only thing I really had was a nice dinner with my family, brothers, back in France, in Paris on Monday night, just to celebrate and enjoy the moment altogether. And yeah, it was great to see the reaction back in France. All the news and the support. The messages from everybody after a great race and yeah, my first podium in Formula 1.

And the reaction within the team and within Formula 1 as well.

PG: No, I must say it was quite impressive. The reactions from everyone. Of course it’s been such a rollercoaster for me this season. And just, yeah, to end the season with my first podium in F1, in Toro Rosso, which was their third podium in history, of course, was something really special. So, to celebrate with everyone; mechanics; engineers, it’s also their second podium this year and year, just to see the passion, the excitement that was going on in the paddock in Brazil was something really special.

And of course, 2019’s not over. You’re battling with Carlos Sainz, the man on your right for sixth place…

PG: It’s not the first time we’re battling, is it!

Carlos SAINZ: No!

Q: True, and both tied on 95 points now and, as you say your careers have crossed in the past. How much rests of what happens in that battle this weekend?

PG: I think it makes it really exciting, you know, coming in the last race of the season with something to play in the championship, so really looking forward to that battle. Carlos and McLaren have been fast all year long. Consistent. So, we expect it to be tough but it will be our job to execute the perfect weekend to hold to that sixth place until the end.

Q: Carlos, coming onto you. Let’s start by talking about that sixth place. How confident are you?

CS: I think as confident as we can be but at the same time you’re obviously cautious. You can never know what’s going to happen in the last race but, you know, I already consider it a bit of a success to be fighting for P6. It’s a bit of a bonus because you never expect, when you’re in the midfield, to fight for P6. Maybe you would expect to fight for P7. And now that we have the chance, we’ve created ourselves an opportunity, and we want to take it, obviously. I’m sure it’s not going to be easy. Pierre and Toro Rosso during the last few weekends have been very strong. They’ve executed some really nice races and I’m sure we’re going to have some fun and some tough competition.

Q: And, the podium in Brazil. How do you reflect on it? What was the reaction back home in Spain?

CS: It was good. To see a team celebrate a podium in that way, and to have them in the podium with me was quite special, quite different to what I expected of my first podium but definitely good fun. Then when we went back to the factory. To see a whole factory taking pictures with the trophy, enjoying it with me for a couple of days, was great fun – then I went back home to my family and friends to celebrate a bit – but at the same time, as we have this battle going on for P6, you know I was like, yeah good fun – but at the same time I want to go to go to Abu Dhabi and try to finish off on a high.

Q: Carlos, some people questioned your move to McLaren this year, yet it’s turning into your best season in Formula One. How much satisfaction has it given you?

CS: Obviously quite a lot. I had good feelings when I moved to McLaren, even if things didn’t look very promising at the end of 2018. I did have some conversations with a lot of engineers, a lot of people, Zak. I don’t know, the project itself just gave me good vibes. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the good results but those good vibes. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the good results but those good vibes translated very quickly into results and into a change of approach by McLaren, a very big change in the structure of the team, and all of a sudden we’re here with one race to go, having secured P4 in the standings, the first podium in five years and, all of a sudden, it looks like the right move. I’m very happy, and very pleased to see such a great group of people performing at such a very high level and being so hungry and motivated to move forwards still.

Q: Daniil, coming to you now: you’ve scored a podium, Pierre’s scored a podium, Honda are making good progress. Can you just describe the atmosphere in the team at the minute and how bullish Toro Rosso is about the future?

Daniil KVYAT: Yeah, certainly it was a very strong year for Toro Rosso, perhaps the best in the history you may say, so yeah, it’s obviously great to be able to fight for a very high position in the Constructors’ championship, the highest it has been in recent years. Yeah, so great to be a part of it and the atmosphere in the team this year… I think the team has always performed very well; since the beginning of the year it was quite consistently in the points and always taking the opportunities quite well; with strategy, taking the points which weren’t even there, to still get them was very crucial sometimes and now at the end of the year we find ourselves in a good strong position, so certainly it was also a very good boost for next year.

Q: And what about your own performance this year? You sat out 2018, how do you feel you’ve progressed as a driver in 2019?

DK: I feel very satisfied, to be honest. I would put it in line with one of my best years in F1 so I’m pretty happy. Some races go your way, some races don’t go your way but this is how our midfield works, it’s very tight and some small mistake can cost you some opportunities like myself in Brazil for example. I definitely lost a very big opportunity there which luckily Pierre, for the team, managed to take. Yeah, but these are the parts of our sport that we all know. I think this year I have been a lot more better driver than my last years in F1.

Q: Kimi, coming on to you: it’s been an up and down kind of season for Alfa Romeo. When you reflect on it, what has the team done well and where does it need to improve?

Kimi RAIKKONEN: I think it’s two different halves of the year where the first part of the year was pretty decent and most of the races and also we had some bad races around Barcelona, Monaco but it improved from there and then since the summer break, first we had good speed still but didn’t score any points as a team and then it’s been very difficult apart from the last couple of races where we at least had some speed to fight in the top ten. Only in the last one could we score good points with two cars but it’s a bit too late, looking more as a team halfway through but that’s how it goes. I think we learned some things; last race we brought a new front wing which helped a bit, so we’re still trying to improve so it’s all learning for next year and we try to do a better job as a team.

Q: Kimi, how much have you enjoyed this season, away from the pressure cooker environment of Ferrari?

KR: I don’t think the pressure was any different. Obviously we want to do well and like I said, it’s a shame we’ve kind of fallen down as a team but as a driver, I think everyone puts a lot of pressure on themselves and in the end the work that we do over the race weekend is not really any different whichever team you’re in, it’s just that the meetings are very similar between teams, the driving is there and the racing. Outside of racing it has been less busy so that’s nice part of it plus obviously the team is very close to where I live so I don’t need to travel to different countries, in many ways it helps, I have a bit more time to stay with the family. It’s a nice thing.

Q: And this is race number 312 for you, taking you ahead of Fernando Alonso to second on the all-time list of starts. Are you excited to come back next year and become the all-time most experienced…

KR: On that, not. It gives me nothing but I’m excited now to have another go and we can improve from this year and learn the lessons from what we’ve done wrong and what we’ve done good and get a bit closer to the front but time will tell, it’s way too early. Once we start running the cars in the first race next year we will get a good idea.


Q: (Beatrice Zamuner – Motorlat) Pierre, after your latest achievement in Brazil, do you personally feel you needed to go back to Toro Rosso and let some pressure off your shoulders in order to perform at a higher level?

PG: I don’t think so. l think in a way it was a positive chance to show myself as well the right things and the things I needed. Of course I’ve seen in both teams and I know what worked, what didn’t and then on both sides. It obviously was a good experience to see that but I don’t think it was needed to perform at a better level because I don’t feel that I’m performing better, I’m still driving the same way, approaching every weekend the same way. I always try to deliver the best performance I can and give 110 percent of myself every single weekend. It’s not like I feel I’ve changed anything but it was good to get the results in this second part of the season.

Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber – Agence EFE) Carlos, your Dad is a very great champion. Could you share with us what he told you after your podium?

CS: Oof. He was probably happier than me. My Dad has been there with me since I’m three years old, travelling the world, travelling, sacrificing a lot of stuff for me and to become a successful driver, teaching me a lot of things. And once the podium happened, he knew all the effort that I had put into this year in the change of environment, going to live in UK etc, so he’s been very close to that change and yeah, as I said, I think he was happier than I was. Probably the only guy but yeah, happier.

Q: (Jesus Balseiro - Diario AS) Carlos, last season you were dropped by Red Bull and Renault but this season you have scored more points than both Renault drivers and you’re fighting in the championship against two Red Bull drivers. Which message do you think you’re sending this season and also is there any kind of feelings of revenge?

CS: No. Obviously I didn’t go into this season with willing revenge or anything like that. I have a lot of friends in Renault and in Red Bull who I still feel are happy for me to do well now at McLaren. I got a lot of messages from people, congratulating me and at the same time you go into a Formula One season just wanting to perform at your best, the same way I went into 2017, ’18 and this year I’ve just got the results on board and I’m just very proud of it.

Q: (Heikki Kulta -Turun Sanomat) Kimi, your first season without a podium since 2014. Which one was more difficult to go through, this season or the first season with Ferrari?

KR: I think the expectation at the start of the year is completely different in those two different teams. For sure this year has generally been much better than if you have such a difficult year in Ferrari as a team or as a driver.

Q: (Daria Panova – Motorlat) Next season [sic, 2021] we will have three-day race weekends; what do you think about it? Isn’t it too much to have so many activities in one day for you?

KR: It should happen next year, already. I mean today is an absolutely useless day. Honestly, we’re going to talk the same things, half of the things we talk at least on Sunday after the last race and tomorrow again. I think it will be a good step because people don’t need to be away that many days and there’s no cost and hotels and  (indistinct) that much and all things will be better for the team… so stop wasting time.

CS: I have a bit of mixed feelings. Personally I like when Formula One goes to a place it makes a big impact so it becomes a week of having Formula One there. I think it still involves too much travelling and too much effort from the mechanics but I think this is a way of preparing for a bigger calendar which is something I’m totally against. I mean 22/21 races already feels too much. I think that last extra day that we take off doesn’t fully compensate those 22/25 races that we want to have in the future.

PG: I think everyone in this room is happy about it: more days at home, more days with the family. I think it’s needed, clearly I agree with what Kimi says, that not so much for us, because I would say we almost have the easy life, easiest life in the paddock but for all the guys – mechanics, engineers – well, you can see, talking with them, that to have a personal life in that world, working in that environment is really difficult. No, I think it’s a good thing but then after, I join the point of Carlos, that if we increase the number of races as well, it’s never going to balance it, so I think it’s a good step for ’21 but hopefully they don’t increase the number of races too much. That’s about it.

DK: Not much left to say but yeah, I agree with that, that more races will… it will become more races but we obviously need to shorten the weekend, which is good. Maybe more real car driving, also some more testing and less simulator for example, from my side, I think because we also need… we don’t need to forget that with the racing we also do a lot of simulator, a lot of PR events, so it becomes a very difficult calendar. Some guys have families within the team including myself and yeah, so I agree with what’s been said.

PART 1: FIA Drivers' Press Conference: Abu Dhabi GP.

PART ONE: DRIVERS – Charles LECLERC (Ferrari), Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing), Kevin MAGNUSSEN (Haas)


Q: Charles, if we could start with you, please. We’re going to take a look back at the last race in Brazil, to begin with. Having had time to review the video footage, what’s you analysis of what happened in the incident between you and Sebastian?

Charles LECLERC: Yeah, we looked at it and I particularly looked at it, obviously, to try to understand how we could have made the things better. I think it was very unfortunate, first of all, because the touch was extremely small and it had a big drama after that, and that was a bit unlucky. But as a team we should probably try to be a bit less aggressive in between each other, for these things to not happen again. For the team it’s not good. For everyone supporting us it’s not good, so we will try for it to not happen again.

Q: What has happened since the Brazilian Grand Prix? Have you guys all met up in Maranello and had a chat?

CL: Yeah, I was there for the simulator, so on this occasion we also took the day to discuss a little bit and yeah, I’m pretty sure it won’t happen again.

Q: Seb is still on your Christmas card list?

CL: Sorry?

Q: I was joking: Seb is still on your Christmas card list.

CL: Oh yeah!

Q: Charles, if we can look back at the season as a whole now. Your first with Ferrari. A lot of headlines that you can very satisfied with on a personal level – the wins, the seven poles, including being the youngest ever Ferrari pole sitter. But in terms of the team’s performance it has been a bit of a rollercoaster. How would you sum it up?

CL: It’s been a bit of a weird season. We started definitely not where we thought we would start after winter testing. Winter testing was very positive and we arrive at the first race and we have been struggling quite a lot. After that I think the progression was very good. Austin was a little bit weird too; we still don’t really understand why we were so off the pace. Brazil we were back to where we wanted. But overall we progressed quite a lot, which I think is the most important [thing]. Now I’m really looking forward to keeping this momentum for next year. It’s the first time in my single-seater where I stay in the same team from one year to another, which also should be an interesting challenge to develop a car. Let’s see, but overall I think it has been a positive season, apart from the first race, which has been very negative.

Q: Thank you Charles and good luck this weekend. Max, a question about this year for you too. It’s the team’s first season with Honda. Has it exceeded your expectations?

Max VERSTAPPEN: I don’t know. It’s been very promising and I think also we had some good results. For me, what was more important was reliability. That has been very strong throughout the whole year and also the progression we made with the engine itself. Yeah, that has all been going really well. But we always want more, so we will never be satisfied with what we are doing. It’s been good and I think it is a good, let’s say, basis for next year as well. We learned a lot throughout the whole year and I feel confident that we can have a positive to next season.

Q: Dominant win for you last time out in Brazil. Which team comes into the Abu Dhabi with the fastest car?

MV: I don’t know; we’ll find out. Still, looking at the season, you’d have to say Mercedes. We’ll see how the weekend will progress. It’s still also a lot about just finding the right set-up. I think the last few races the three teams, the three top teams have been really close to each other and I hope it’s going to be the same here.

Q: Thank you Max. Kevin, for your 2019 started strongly, but it tailed off quite dramatically. Why did it go wrong?

Kevin MAGNUSSEN: I think there are a few different reasons, but it became very clear in Bahrain that we had a problem, which was really strange because in winter testing and in the first race the car was really good. Even in Bahrain in qualifying we qualified… I can’t remember, sixth of something, up there. Then in the race it just completely fell apart. So from there on it was a little bit of panic in the team. We couldn’t really focus on… kind of find the real root of the problem. We were looking a lot at tyres and blaming the problem on tyres issues whereas in fact it was a little more simple, I think, just aero issues, unstable aero and the whole platform just not being strong enough and consistent, stable enough. It’s a very, I would say, frustrating problem, because we have able to qualify well but in the race we just have not had any strength. That’s very frustrating as a driver, where you start in a position and then you’re just fighting to try to hang on to your position rather than attacking the guy in front. In that way it’s been pretty frustrating, but on the other hand, we are a very young team, it’s only our fourth year. Last year we got P5 in the Constructors’ Championship. I think that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think many teams have done that in their third year. So we’ve got to take some confidence from that as well and just build on the experience that we have had this year and the learning that we have done and then just come back stronger next year.

Q: You say it’s been frustrating for the drivers, but how have you progressed as a driver this year?

KM: Well, you always learn in any situation but especially when it’s difficult you learn different things and you just have to approach your problems in a different way and I think that gives you strength and some experience that you wouldn’t necessarily have gotten if you were just cruising and driving in a perfect car. So in many ways it’s also been positive, both for me, as a driver, and for the team as well.


Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Question for Charles. You say you are pretty sure that an incident like that won’t happen again, but how can you be so sure. Was blame apportioned by the team in the meetings you had? What guidelines and rules have been laid down about racing together in the future and are you even allowed to race together in the future?

CL: No, I think this doesn’t change. We will be able to race together. Obviously, Seb and myself are very competitive, we both want to win, but we also need to find the right compromise. We are also racing for the same team. As I said earlier, we need to be lees aggressive towards each other and give us a little bit more space for these things to not happen again. Of what I know, that’s the only thing that will happen for the next races, but maybe Mattia can go a bit further into that. Apart from that, I don’t think there is much we can do. Obviously, as I said, the consequences were huge in the last race but if you look back at the contact it was very, very small. It was unfortunate but we will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Q: (Jon McEvoy – Daily Mail) Charles, just to go back to what Andrew asked before. Did either driver do as was suggested and say “I was to blame for that”, you or Seb? And b, are there now sort of new arrangement that if you do have an accident for example that you might be fined or banned or sacked or is it just sort of idle hope?

CL: On the second question there’s been nothing said on that. We called with Seb and we tried to understand both of our situations. I think probably Seb shouldn’t have gone to the left and he knows it and I probably could have done a better job of avoiding him going to the left. So yeah, both of us have a bit of responsibility, but the most important thing is that everything is clear with Seb and we move forward.

Q: (Walter Koster – Saarbrücker Zeitung) Charles, before I start my question, I have to remind you of high praises – no doubt you have had more good races than bad ones, but if we stick to the less good races with bad luck and mishaps, such as Baku, where the Ferrari hit the barriers, in Bahrain where you lost the lead due to an engine problem, in Austria where you were caught by Max and Monaco, your first home race, was very disappointing with last place and probably the low point, in Hockenheim, it was a mistake of the driver and last in Brazil, the finish after a hard battle with your team-mate. Now, my question to the pop star of Formula 1: what was your best race among your worst races? Can you give us, please, a ranking regarding your five not so good races, starting with the worst? I’m a polite person or man, please excuse this question, but I still hope for an answer.

MV: Wow!

CL: That was a long question. Congratulations. Kevin, you can start.

KM: I’m in a trance.

MV: Well [Charles] you are the pop star, so first of all, can you sing?

CL: Yeah, I can sing. I won’t sing now, but I can sing. I don’t know…

MV: I lost you after a few sentences.

KM: You have to rank your five worst races.

CL: Worst races? Five worst? OK, that was a simple question. So…

Q: (Walter Koster – Saarbrücker Zeitung) What was the best race among the worst?

CL: So the top five best and the top five worst?

MV: Wow.

KM: Take your time.

MV: We’ve got a lot time.

Q: Your five worst races, please?

MV: Are we going to make it more complicated? Like, this year or in his career?

CL: My worst race this year was probably Brazil, second one Monaco, third one… Third one? That’s two. That’s good. No?

KM: He’s had a good question.

CL: That was a question only for me? OK, thank you!

Q: Unless, Max, you’d like to offer your worst of the season, or Kevin?

MV: Er, no – save the time.

Q: (Joost Nederpelt   - NU.NL) Question to all drivers. If you were the director of the Drive to Survive documentary on Netflix, what moment of the season would you definitely put in?

KM: I don’t know. I don’t know what… I have a thing in mind but we’ll see if it’s made it into it. It’s a surprise. Watching the next Netflix season two and you’ll find out.

Q: Nothing else you can offer us now?

KM: No, it hasn’t been that exciting from our side, so…

Q: Max?

MV: Hockenheim.

Q: What bit of Hockeheim exactly?

MV: I think they were following Mercedes closely in Hockenheim? I would like to see that episode. It’s a bit of fun, right? I mean, they can laugh about it as well: they still won the Championship, so a bit of drama involved in the series is good. If I would be the director – because you have to create the hits.

Q: Charles?

CL: yeah… I would not choose the last race but probably the Monza victory is the one I would like to see on the documentary.

Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber – Agencia EFE) Question both for Charles and Max. I can imagine you being young and very talented drivers, you’re focussing on winning your first world title but do you every focus yourself like looking at Lewis, maybe winning six?

MV: I was thinking about ten. No. You don’t need to think like that. It just happens or doesn’t. It’s 50:50. You just try to do the best you can, personally. You also need a bit of luck. You need to get into the right car at the right time and you need a dominant team as well for a few more years in a row. At least… it depends on how long your career is lasting. No, personally I don’t think about it too much because, as I’ve just said, it happens or it doesn’t. At the end of the day, I think already winning one title would be a great achievement.

CL: Yeah, I personally don’t think about it too much. I believe that with work, anything is achievable, so I mostly think about how I can do my job in the proper way. Then, of course, the choice you make in a career are very important. It not only depends on yourself but it also depends on luck but I’m mostly focussing on work more than thinking about the title.

Q: Kevin, I feel we should ask you as well.

KM: I need to try to win a race first and then I can start thinking about championships after that. So, y’know… the ambition has always been there. That’s always been the dream since I was a little kid: to be Formula 1 World Champion and y’know, that ambition and that dream is still there but obviously I’m in a slightly different position to those two guys.

Q: (Arjan Schouten – AD Sportswereld) Two questions for Max. What’s the importance of the third place in the Drivers’ Championships, and again, you’re on the long list for Dutch sportsman of the year election, together with six cyclists, three speed-skaters, a darts player, a world champion in chequers, a windsurfer, judoka, and the Champions’ League winner Virgil van Dijk, so I presume you’re going to win this one – what do you think?

MV: First one, I think it’s always nicer than finishing fourth or fifth – but yeah, looking back in 20 years’ time and seeing that you were third in the Championship wouldn’t really make me very happy. I think we’re all here to win and, of course, fight for the title. So yeah, I think it would be nice after this weekend to be third but in 20 years’ time, I don’t think it will do much. And the second one, honestly, yeah, I have my own opinion about being nominated but I prefer not to comment on it.

Q: Charles, can we get your thoughts on third place in the Championship?

CL: It’s always nice to finish a season on the podium. I’ll give it all. Now, 11 points are quite a bit to recover in one race, but we’ll give it all and it will be a nice thing to finish my first season with Ferrari on the podium – but yeah, we’ll see what will happen.

Q: (Lennart Bloemhof – Volksrant) Question for Max, you’re nearing the end of your fourth season at Red Bull. Regarding your dominant win in Brazil, and you’re fighting for pole positions now, do you believe you’re closer to having a Championship-winning car more than ever at the team right now?

MV: Yeah. I think we do. Also, looking at the plans for next year – but of course you still have to wait and see what the others come up with. But we are of course… we want to fight for the title, so we’re going to give it everything we have to be competitive from the start next year.

Q: (Milan Klemenc – Avtomanija) I have one question for all three: what are expectations for next year. We know new tyres 2020. I know you were interested after the last race. What’s your opinion?

KM: I don’t even think the tyres have been chosen yet, have they? And then the aero is the same. So, on personal side, I’m hoping we will get a better car – but in terms of regulations and the racing itself, I don’t see it changing too much. It’s more 2021 I’m looking forward to: to see how that performs.

Max, do you see it changing much next year?

MV: Well, I hope we can fight for the title. That’s it.


CL: Yeah, not much. I think we’ve been working pretty well, as I was mentioning earlier, with the car, so hopefully we can continue with the progression and start from a better place, the season, to be fighting for the title.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Mercedes-AMG F1: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

Toto Wolff Talks Abu Dhabi
Brazil was a disappointing race for us; we did not have the fastest car on track and we lost a lot of points owing to our own mistakes. We analysed what went wrong, both in terms of our reliability and our decisions during the race, to make sure we don't repeat them. It was a good learning experience for the entire team and something that will make us stronger in the long run.

The underperformance in Brazil means we head to Abu Dhabi with a point to prove. Yas Marina has been a good circuit for us in the last years and we'll push hard to continue in the same way. The race is one last opportunity for us to add another victory to the record of the W10 and it's one more chance to put on a great show for the fans before the winter break. We're looking forward to the fight because we know that in Formula One, you're only as good as your last result.

This season has been a real rollercoaster for us. We've seen great on-track battles and we've loved the competition. We are very proud that we came out on top and managed to put the Mercedes name in the history books of Formula One with our sixth consecutive double title. On the other hand, it's been an incredibly hard year where we had to say goodbye to too many friends. We were hit hard by the passing of Charlie, Niki and Anthoine, as well as important members from our team who we have tragically lost this year. At Mercedes, Niki left a void that we will never be able to replace - as a source of inspiration, as a voice of reason, but most importantly as a great friend. We hope we did you proud, Niki.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Fact File

  • The first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009 was also the first twilight race in Formula One, starting at sunset and finishing under the dark skies of night time. Around 4,700 light fixtures illuminate the Yas Marina Circuit for the twilight race.
  • The 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was held on the 1st November. Due to the increased number of races, this year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place exactly one month later - on the 1st December.
  • Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole for the first race in 2009 with a 1:40.948, while his 2018 pole position was a 1:34.794 - over six seconds quicker.
  • The Yas Marina Circuit has the second-highest number of corners on the F1 calendar, with 21, split between 12 left-handers and nine right-handers. Only the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore has more corners (23).
  • In Qualifying, the fastest corners on the circuit are taken flat-out. Drivers can reach 275 km/h and up to 5G through the high-speed Turns 2 and 3. The fastest corner where the driver has to come off the throttle is Turn 20, which is taken at 210 km/h.
  • The pit lane at the Yas Marina Circuit has a very unusual layout, featuring a unique pit lane exit with a tunnel passing under the track and a tight left-hand corner. This left-hand corner is actually the slowest turn of the track, taken at 60 km/h. That's around 5 km/h slower than Turn 7, which is the slowest turn on the actual circuit.
  • A lap around the Yas Marina Circuit is one of the busiest ones for gear changes. On average, a driver has to make about 54 over the course of a lap.
  • Abu Dhabi is one of the most predictable races on the calendar when it comes to the weather. Ambient temperature is generally between 25 and 30°C and the track tends to start at around 33°C during the race and falls to 28°C when the sun sets.
  • The stones used in the tarmac are very light in colour, which keeps peak track temperatures relatively low. FP1 is the hottest session, where track temperature can peak at around 45°C. This is still relatively low compared to a race like Mexico where it can exceed 60°C.
  • The two DRS zones are located on consecutive straights, separated by a chicane and with their own individual detection points. This can produce interesting battles, with the driver overtaken into Turn 8 being given a chance to regain the place on the following straight with DRS.

PREVIEW PROVIDED BY - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

Alfa Romeo Racing: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

One last race in 2019. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marks the final chapter in what has been an incredibly long season, one that gifted us moments of elation and lessons to learn, results to celebrate and memories to put in our team’s history books. It is a final chapter, however, that still needs to be written.

We come to Yas Marina on a high. The Brazilian Grand Prix marked the best result of our team – not just for this season, but since 2009. It was a sweet reward after the hard work all team produced, but we will not rest on our laurels. We will build on the Interlagos result, wanting to go even better, aiming to finish the season in style ahead of a busy winter of work.

We also come to Yas Marina on a mission. A fight that seemed impossible just weeks ago is now open: seventh place in the constructors’ standings remains far, but still an achievable objective. We will go all out for it: and were we to fall short, at least we will know we have given everything we could.

Do not discount a surprise, however. After all, as in every show, the final act is when incredible things really happen.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG
“We arrive in Abu Dhabi still buzzing from the great result from the last race. It will be important to channel these good spirits into a positive energy for this final event of the season, one where there is so much at stake. Battle for seventh place in the championship aside, we still need to aim for a good result this weekend. It will be important to finish the season well to carry this momentum into the winter months and onto 2020.”
Kimi Räikkönen
“I am looking forward to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. The result in Brazil was a big confidence boost for everyone in the team and we want to build on that to finish the season well. Of course I am looking forward to some time off afterwards, but right now the focus is firmly on this weekend’s race: we know we can have a good result and we will give all we have to get it.”

Antonio Giovinazzi 
“This weekend marks the end of my first full season in Formula One, but I am not looking at making a balance of the year yet. We still have one very important race ahead of us and we are fully committed to doing the best possible job there. Abu Dhabi is another track where we can aim for a good result and we have showed last time out that we can fight with those at the front of the midfield, so let’s hope we can finish the season with another strong race.”


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Renault F1 Team: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
"The last race of the season is a time for us to reflect on a difficult 2019. We have had high points: a double score in Italy and strong results in Mexico, USA and Brazil, but a disappointing start of the season marked by many issues where we have had to dig deep and discover new resourcefulness. 

We enter the final race in Abu Dhabi with the pressure still firmly on. Fifth place is up for grabs in the Constructors’ Championship and we face stiff competition to maintain our current position. We’re confident in our ability to deliver the results we need over the weekend, but we have learned that the field is close and races are very open.

"We also say goodbye to Nico after three seasons with the team. His contribution has been instrumental in our reconstruction and progression. We have harnessed his experience and ability to deliver strong results and he has played an important role in Renault’s Formula 1 journey. We want to ensure we end our time together with the best result possible."

Nico Hülkenberg
"It’s been three memorable years for me at Renault. There have been highs and lows, but I’ve enjoyed my time as a driver here. We’ve had some great results and some ‘nearly’ moments, all of which I’ll remember for a very long time. I’d like to thank everyone at the team including my engineers and mechanics for all their effort over the last 61 races. We have one more to go and we’ll be giving it our all for the best possible result."

Ahead of the last race this season, how would you sum up 2019?
This season has admittedly had its fair share of ups and downs. Obviously, my seventh-place finish in Australia was a positive way to kick start the season for us, and the results we delivered in Canada, and later Monza, shows the progress we’ve made on tracks where a strong power unit is essential. Overall, I would say we’ve learnt a lot and can be confident of finishing the season well in Abu Dhabi.

How challenging is the Yas Marina Circuit?
Yas Marina is an interesting circuit. It’s a long lap with three contrasting sectors, which makes it difficult to find a rhythm. You aim to get comfortable straight away there and find a smooth balance on the car. There’s a sweet spot on set-up to find with a couple ofstraights and also some medium to highspeed corners, especially in the last sector. As always, we’ll be aiming for a good start on Friday to ensure we’re in the best position for the rest of the weekend.

Is it a fun place to conclude the Formula 1 season?
I enjoy finishing the season off in Abu Dhabi. The facilities there are excellent and it’s a good place to celebrate a busy year. There’s plenty to play for in the Constructors’ Championship as we aim to secure fifth place. There’s a task at hand, I’m ready for it, and I’ll be targeting a strong result for the team.

What’s the feeling heading into your final race with the team?
It’s been three memorable years for me at Renault. There have been highs and lows, but I’ve enjoyed my time as a driver here. We’ve had some great results and some ‘nearly’ moments, all of which I’ll remember for a very long time. I’d like to thank everyone at the team including my engineers and mechanics for all their effort over the last 61 races. We have one more to go and we’ll be giving it our all for the best possible result.

Daniel Ricciardo
"It’s always a special weekend with it being the final race of the season. It would be nice to continue the momentum we’ve had during the last part of the season through to the end and secure another points finish. Abu Dhabi has always been a pretty good track for me and it’s an enjoyable race, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on track to end the season on a high. We have a bit of pressure on us in the race for fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, but it means we have something to fight for and I like that feeling."

As we approach the season finale, how do you rate your first season with the team?
It’s been an interesting year for sure starting with a new team, and I think it’s fair to say there have been some good times, as well as some difficult periods. I think the results we achieved in Canada, the fourth place in Monza, and good performances recently in Brazil and the US, are proof that we’ve had more consistency throughout the year. It bodes well for us and puts us in a good direction for next season.

What are your expectations for Abu Dhabi?
It’s always a special weekend with it being the final race of the season. It would be nice to continue the momentum we’ve had during the last part of the season throughnto the end and secure another points finish.nAbu Dhabi has always been a pretty good track for me and it’s an enjoyable race, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on track to end the season on a high. We have a bit of pressure on us in the race for fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, but it means we have something to fight for and I like that feeling.

What’s special about the Yas Marina Circuit?
Having a race that goes from dusk to night is always cool. The weather is good too, so there’s a lot to like about the track and the place. It’s a fun circuit to race on, but I would say my favourite part is the third sector - how it weaves through the hotel section is always great and a nice way to complete the lap.

How do you reflect on the Brazilian Grand Prix?
There was a lot going on in the race and it was really exciting! At one stage, it looked like we could finish anywhere. Ultimately, though, when the dust settled, it was great to score points again for the team, making it three points-scoring finishes in a row which is a real positive for us heading into Abu Dhabi.


Scuderia Ferrari: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

This Sunday’s race will be the eleventh Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It has always been held on the 5.554 kilometre-long Yas Marina Circuit over a distance of 55 laps. The first time Formula 1 cars raced in Abu Dhabi dates back to 2009, when Sebastian Vettel won for Red Bull.

Unlucky track. Over the years, Yas Marina has never been a propitious track for Scuderia Ferrari, the team never having won here, although it has finished second and third three times. There’s a particularly bitter memory of 2010 when the Maranello team arrived in Abu Dhabi with Fernando Alonso leading the world championship, 8 points ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber and 15 points ahead of the Australian’s team-mate, Sebastian Vettel. A strategic error left the Spaniard down the back of the field, so that the German took the title, beating Alonso by four points.

In other years. As for the aforementioned second places, two of them came courtesy of Alonso, in 2011 behind Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren, in 2012 behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus and last year Vettel was second to Hamilton’s Mercedes. The three third places were down to Kimi in 2015 and Sebastian in 2016 and 2017.

Double points. In 2014, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final round of the season, became the only Formula 1 championship race at which double points were on offer. It was a device aimed at keeping the championship battle as open as possible right down the very end. The idea was scrubbed as from the following year.

Charles. While Sebastian has three Abu Dhabi wins to his name, Charles has only raced here once, when he finished in a great seventh place for Sauber-Ferrari last year. It was a strong finish to the season and it was followed by the best possible start to his preparations for joining Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, as he drove the Ferrari at Yas Marina in the test that usually follows the final race of the year.

GP contested 10
Debut 2009 (Kimi Raikkonen 12th; Giancarlo Fisichella 16th)
Wins 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 3 (30%)
Podiums 6 (60%)

Charles Leclerc 
“Abu Dhabi, the last grand prix of the season. Most of the paddock is probably looking forward to enjoying their holidays. From my perspective, I am actually pretty sad that I won’t be feeling that adrenalin rush behind the wheel for the next few months. At this race, everyone is pushing to the maximum as, for most drivers, there’s nothing to lose.
The race starts in daylight and ends at night, which is something pretty special that we don’t experience anywhere else. Another aspect that is different here is tyre degradation, which is something we have to get accustomed to and anticipate.
It always makes for an interesting race and I am very much looking forward to my last outing of the season with Scuderia Ferrari.”

Sebastian Vettel 
“As well as being the last race of 2019, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marks the start of the 2020 season in many ways, with most teams trying out ideas for next year during Friday free practice. Then, as usual on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the race, there’s the test session when we will able to evaluate the tyres for next year and those for 2021.

Focussing on work for next year is not a problem during the morning sessions on Friday and Saturday as conditions then are so much hotter than those experienced during qualifying and the race that they are less useful in terms of working on set-up and race configuration.

Yas Marina features a lot of slow and medium speed corners. In contrast to Sao Paolo, Pirelli has brought its three softest compound tyres to this race. Nevertheless, it is likely to be a one-stop race, because overtaking is very difficult despite the fact there are two DRS zones. It means qualifying well is very important.

It is an opportunity for us to finish the season on a high but we know the competition is strong, so it should be an exciting race.”

Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“Abu Dhabi is the last race of what has been a long season for everyone. For us at Scuderia Ferrari, it was a year of new beginnings, with team members taking on new roles and Charles in his first year with us and our aim was to build the foundations for the future.
Of course there were highs and lows: the first part of the season did not go the way we wanted, but I certainly value the way we all stood together, rolled up our sleeves and fought back.

Particularly noteworthy was the way we reacted after the summer break, with three race wins in a row and a run of six consecutive poles positions, as well as our win in Monza, just days after the incredible celebration of the 90 years of the Scuderia, in Milan, in front of a huge crowd.

Of course finishing second will never be good enough for Ferrari and we are looking ahead to a very intense winter to keep building as a group. The aim is to come back stronger to be up to the challenges that await us.

As the season draws to an end, I would like to say thank you to our tifosi all over the world for their passionate support all year long. This weekend, we will try to give them the best possible result with which to finish the season.”

PREVIEW PROVIDED BY - Scuderia Ferrari

McLaren Racing: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

Yas Marina circuit is the central focus of Abu Dhabi’s man-made Yas Island, which also features seven hotels, a golf course and a concert arena. Construction of the 5.554km/3.451-mile anti-clockwise track began in 2007 and it hosted the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November 2009.

The track has several unique features, including air-conditioned pit garages, a pit-lane exit that passes underneath Turn One and grandstands that overhang the run-off area at Turn Seven. Even the timing of the race is special because it’s the only twilight race of the season, getting underway at 1710hrs local time, 30 minutes before sunset. The 55-lap race ends after dark, under the glare of the world’s largest permanent lighting system.

Carlos Sainz 
“After an incredible race and result in Brazil, it was amazing to take the trophy back to the factory and share the achievement with the whole team. I’m aiming to end the season on a high and there is still a lot to fight for in the last race. I’m fighting to finish sixth in the Drivers’ Championship and, even though it’s not going to be easy, we have prepared thoroughly for the weekend and I have confidence we can have a good race.

“Abu Dhabi is a fantastic venue and the perfect place to celebrate the close of the season. Starting the race in the evening and finishing it under the floodlights is always an interesting challenge. Although our P4 in the Constructors’ Championship is secured, I hope we can score some good points with both cars to round out a positive season.”

Lando Norris
“My first year in Formula 1 has been an amazing experience and I feel that I’ve gained a lot of experience since lights out in Melbourne. I’m pleased to be finishing the season at a circuit I know well, having scored a podium here in F2 last year, as well as completing the 2018 post-season test. It’s an interesting circuit with a few unique features that keep the racing interesting. I’m looking forward to another exciting weekend and to giving it my all one last time this year.”

Andreas Seidl - Team Principal
“After the great result at Interlagos, it’s time to go racing again. We took time last week to celebrate Carlos’ podium and our confirmed P4 in the Constructors’ with the whole team back at the factory. But now, we have our heads down again and are focused on the task at hand. We know that we need to keep pushing at every opportunity if we want to earn more podiums, and the Brazilian Grand Prix provided all the motivation we need to achieve this goal.  

“We now turn all our attention to the final race of the season, where we will aim to end the year on a high. We’ve made good progress over the season and we want to carry that into the final race. With our Constructors’ position confirmed, we are now targeting the best possible positions in the Drivers’ Championship. Carlos is well placed to fight for sixth and Lando can also climb positions this weekend. Our passion and motivation remain strong and we’re looking forward to fighting until the very last lap of the season.” 


Williams Racing: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

We’re off to the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi for the final round of the 2019 Formula One World Championship. The Yas Marina Circuit is dominated by a 1,233m long straight between turns seven and eight and is one of the longest tracks on the calendar. The iconic Yas Hotel provides a spectacular backdrop as the drivers race into the night, bringing the curtain down on the weekend and the 2019 season.

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
The final race of the season takes place in Abu Dhabi, which should all but guarantee warm and dry conditions, complicated only by the often unrepresentatively warm conditions of FP1 and FP3. As a result, most teams will focus their weekend preparations on FP2, leaving FP1 to explore more medium-term items.

We will continue to work on both race setup and car development as we look to finalise some of our preparations for the FW43. Both drivers will have busy and detailed run programmes on Friday.

The Yas Marina circuit has become the traditional venue for the season’s final race, and it offers a good blend of corners, separated by two long DRS straights. The third sector is challenging, especially in qualifying when the tyres can begin to struggle. Pirelli have provided their softest compounds for this event, a combination last seen in Singapore, and a significant contrast to the selection in Interlagos. The C5 ‘street circuit’ tyre should offer good grip in qualifying but getting the most out of it for the full 5.6km lap could be the biggest challenge facing the drivers and engineers this weekend.

Robert Kubica
Abu Dhabi is quite a difficult track, but we will try to optimise the car the best we can for the last race of the season. It will be my final Grand Prix with Williams, and so I would like to put everything together for the boys and for the team.

George Russell
I’ve got mixed feelings as it is going to be sad to do the last race of the year, but I’m also excited to get back out to the warm weather of Abu Dhabi. I have good memories there as winning the FIA Formula Two Championship last year was a really special feeling, and something I will remember for a long time to come.


Racing Point: 2019 Abu Dhabi GP Preview.

Lance Stroll
“Abu Dhabi is the season finale and the organisers always put on quite a show. The track layout isn’t my favourite, but the event is always a lot of fun - it’s a great place to go racing. The infrastructure is impressive and it’s arguably the best that we have in Formula 1. What they’ve done with the event is amazing.

“The track in Abu Dhabi is quite challenging. It’s a long lap with plenty of corners and the high temperatures make it very demanding on the tyres. The most technical part of the lap is the middle sector and particularly the chicanes. It’s important to get your braking point just right and you also need to ride the kerbs.

“Overtaking can be quite challenging, but that’s the same as most circuits. As always, we’re going to try and pick off as many places as we can. The twilight conditions in Abu Dhabi are unique but I’m pretty zoned in from start to finish so it’s not really a distraction. You almost forget you’re driving in the evening because the lights work so well.”

Sergio Perez 
“It’s important we end the season on a high in Abu Dhabi. It’s been a long year and there is still a lot at stake. Brazil didn’t go well for us – even though we scored points – and we need to come back strong this weekend.

“Yas Marina is a track that’s all about braking and traction. It’s hard on the brakes and you need to set up the car so that you have good rear stability. Good traction out of the corners is also important for a quick lap time. The long straights offer some overtaking opportunities but you need to be quite brave on the brakes. In the race, you often find yourself either attacking or defending, especially towards the end of the race.

“When you get to the final race you just need to keep focused on the job ahead. Everybody is starting to think about next year, but you want to finish the season well so that you can go on holiday feeling happy. Nobody wants to have a bad final race so we will do all we can to end the year with a strong performance.”

Otmar Szafnauer - CEO and Team Principal
“We’ve dusted ourselves down after a tough race in Brazil and are determined to bounce back with a better result in Abu Dhabi. It’s a circuit we’ve gone well at in the past – particularly with Checo, who has scored points there in every race with the team since he signed in 2014 – so we’re feeling positive heading into the weekend.

“The Yas Marina is a great setting for the season finale. Although it gets very hot during the day, the evening is much more pleasant and the circuit looks spectacular under the lights. They really know how to put on a show and the facility itself is first class, which I’m sure the whole paddock appreciates at the end of a long season.

“It’s been a transitional year for the team and optimism for 2020 is high. But for now, the focus is on scoring points this weekend. Reclaiming sixth place in the Championship will be a big task – but we all want to end 2019 on a positive note and will keep fighting until the very end.”

PREVIEW PROVIDED BY Sport Pesa Racing Point F1 Team