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Old 24th November 2016, 07:50   #1
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Default Formula 1 : 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Formula 1 wraps up the 2016 season and decides the driver's title with the final race held at the Yas Marina circuit situated on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. From the inaugural grand prix held in 2009, Abu Dhabi has always hosted the season finale - a distinction it took over from Brazil's Interlagos circuit (although fans and purists might argue that it was usurped!) A feature that sets the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix apart from other races is that it is a twilight race, that starts under daylight conditions and seamlessly transitions into night, offering up a visual spectacle to viewers, one that can be seen in last year's race summary:

Race Timings in IST
With the race starting at a local time of 5 pm, viewers in India can catch the race at a very convenient 6:30 pm in India on Sunday (27-Nov), with the telecast available on Star Sports Select HD2. The below timings are in IST:
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Apart from the on-track events, Thursday evening's press conference will also be of interest due to the drivers selected. The group of 5 drivers who will be interviewed in the first 20 minutes includes the two long-standing racers who will not be racing in 2017:
  • Jenson Button
  • Felipe Massa
  • Felipe Nasr
  • Kimi Räikkönen
  • Max Verstappen
This session will then be followed by another interview with just the Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton - no doubt this will be focused on the tightly fought drivers' title battle, and will be interesting to see what mind games each of them bring to the interview!

Track Information
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  • Lap length: 5.554 km
  • Race laps: 55
  • Race distance: 305.355 km
  • Fastest lap (race): 1:40.279 (Sebastian Vettel, 2009)
  • Fastest lap (any session): 1:38.434 (Lewis Hamilton, 2011 Q2)
  • Pole position: Right-hand side of the track
  • Track orientation: Anti-clockwise
  • Maximum speed: 320 km/h
  • DRS zones: Straight between T7-T8 and the straight between T10-T11
  • Distance from grid to turn one: 304 m
  • Full throttle: 59%
  • Longest flat-out section: 1233 m
  • Fuel consumption: High: ~1.8 kg/lap
  • Gear changes per lap: 68
  • Track altitude: 10-20 MSL
  • Safety car: Low - 30% likely, none in 2014 and 2015

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In case the word 'marina' in its name didn't give it away, the circuit is at sea-level.
As a sea-side circuit, this is more Singapore than Monaco, with minimal elevation changes.

The Yas Marina circuit is not a historic circuit, unlike many others that F1 has raced on. What it lacks in terms of old-world charm, fan affection and sheer spirit, it makes up with sheer opulence. Sadly, this does not automatically translate to stellar racing, and the circuit has not won admirers among race fans, given its tendency to host boring and processional races.

As a circuit in the Middle East, money has been no object, and the circuit and its surroundings comprise the best that money can buy - with all of £800 million spent in its construction. The circuit complex includes the iconic Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel, which is notable for having a section that straddles the race track between turns 18 and 19, a 60-metre tall Sun Tower, the entire third sector which runs alongside the marina, and - quite controversially - the pit lane to the right of the track which dips beneath track via a tight and curved tunnel to eventually exit on the left of the track. Bearing in mind viewer comfort and taking into account the weather, all grandstands are covered, while the pit garages are also air-conditioned.
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The cars run beneath this section of the Viceroy Hotel.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - an amusement park located on Yas Island - is the first and only Ferrari-branded theme park. Architecturally, it is noted for the largest space-frame structure ever built, so large that its red awning is visible from space with the naked eye. The world's fastest roller coaster - the Formula Rossa - is also located within this park, and is noted for achieving F1-like acceleration, being able to go from zero to 240 km/h in a neck-snapping 6 seconds.
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This structure can be seen unaided from space. Turns 5,6 and 7 of the circuit can be seen in the top-right.

A notable feature of the race is that it is the only twilight race on the F1 calendar, starting under daylight conditions and transitioning into night. To ensure a seamless transition, powerful lighting (similar to Singapore) is used from race start. Due to this, we'll see all drivers layering clear tear-off visor strips beneath dark ones used at the race start.
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The circuit features 9 right and 12 left turns, as well as two straights that both have DRS available, and is notable for being a circuit that doesn't enable DRS on the start-finish straight (which is actually relatively short). The straight between turns 7 & 8 is the first DRS zone, and is one of the few passing opportunities, particularly for cars that are low on downforce and have sufficient engine grunt. While much can be written about the circuit, it is hard to shake off the fact that the track has been designed more for spectacle than for racing.
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This aerial shot displays the major features of the circuit. At the centre is the titular marina that gives the circuit its name, as well as the Viceroy Hotel.
At the bottom-left is the second DRS-enabled straight, at the end of which sector 3 starts, winding its way alongside the marina.
In the distance to the top-right is the red glint of Ferrari World.

Race Weekend - Weather
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It's the desert, so tumultuous weather as seen in Brazil is definitely not on the cards. The weather promises to be warm, dry and consistent. The only variable is that the twilight timing of the race means that track temperatures drop off by as much as 15°C through the course of the race.

Race Weekend - Tyre Selection
Teams and drivers have chosen from Pirelli's ultra-soft (purple), super-soft (red) and soft (yellow) tyre compounds for the 2016 Abu Dhabi GP, a combination that is being used for the fifth time in 2016.
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The ultra-soft (purple) tyre compound is assigned for drivers who reach Q3 in qualifying, while the super-soft (red) and soft (yellow) tyre compounds are nominated for the race - meaning drivers must have at least one set of each compound, and must use at least one of them during the race.
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The track features a smooth surface, with low levels of tyre wear and degradation. Teams tend to run with medium downforce due to the varied nature of the track. Traction is important to make the most of the acceleration zones at corner exit, since they lead to lengthy straights. Last year, a two-stop race was the preferred option, with most of the front-starters starting on super-soft, and switching to softs for their next two stints. The alternate strategy was also a two-stopper, but with the initial two stints on soft, with a final attacking stint on super-soft. The difficulty in overtaking means that all teams will be particularly keen on qualifying well, with the ultra-soft compound playing a key role in this.
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Paul Hembery, Motorsport Director for Pirelli has this to say:
“Abu Dhabi is one of the circuits we know best, having completed a number of tests there previously, including some of the recent 2017 wider tyre tests that we have been carrying out since August. The new element to this year’s race is obviously the ultrasoft tyre, which should provide some extra speed on a circuit that forms a good all-round test for the tyres. In fact, all the compounds nominated for this year are very well suited to Abu Dhabi, opening up a number of different possibilities when it comes to strategy. Although the attention is on the finish of the 2016 season, we’re already looking forward to 2017, with a presentation to media before the start of the Grand Prix, then the first test with all three mule cars on track together with 2017 tyres, on the Tuesday after the race.”

World Constructors' Championship (WCC)
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  • As we wind up the 2016 season, it's worth once again highlighting the third consecutive double championship that has been won by Mercedes. Over these three years, the team has combined a stellar powertrain with an impressive chassis and two dynamic drivers to record a streak of dominance that has rewritten many records. As teams look to 2017 with its revised aero regulations and wider tyres and cars, many of them will be wishing for a shake-up of the order of the last 3 years. However, Mercedes will not be resting on its laurels.
  • Often derided as a soft-drinks company, Red Bull has shown why it is a force to contend with in Formula 1. Combining arguably the hottest driver pairing on the grid with a stellar chassis designed by Adrian Newey and his team, and powered by a vastly improved Renault powertrain, Red Bull has inexorably marched back up the constructors standings since its low of 2014, and has secured second place in the constructors' standings with an impressive showing at the Brazilian GP.
  • Although Ferrari boasts one of the most accomplished driver pairings with both drivers being former WDCs, and having come off the back of a promising 2015, this year has been quite a muted year for the prancing horse. Sadly, Ferrari has stumbled through the 2016 season - with a variety of technical failures, blown strategy calls, driver errors and bad luck, it have been outstripped by the lean and mean Red Bull driving machine. It is therefore inevitable that Ferrari settled into third in the constructors' championship.
  • With the top 3 spots being firmly locked down, the teams that round out the top 5 are Force India and Williams. Partly bearing testament to the Mercedes powertrain, they are both are Mercedes-powered teams. The constructors battle between these two teams was closely and tightly fought over the course of the season. However, while Williams took the early lead, it is Force India that gained the upper hand in recent races, and has almost certainly sealed fourth place with a healthy 27-point lead over their rivals Williams. With just a race to go, Williams requires a significant upheaval amongst the cars ahead of them in the race to outscore Force India.
  • Behind this pair of teams sits the pseudo-manufacturer team of McLaren, a team that has shown impressive gains in reliability and performance compared to 2015, where it seemed to be the punchline of many a joke. Changes within Honda and the relaxed token system of engine development have borne fruit, which - combined with excellent driving from the former WDC pair - has allowed McLaren to overhaul midfield rivals Toro Rosso. While not the title-challenging team of yesteryear, McLaren's progress gives hope for a much more competitive 2017.
  • Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso started the year impressively, but their undeveloped year-old Ferrari powertrain has proven to be their Achilles heel over the season. In the last race before they return to Renault power, Toro Rosso will attempt to bridge the 9-point gap that separates them from McLaren.
  • New entrant and US-backed team Haas are sitting lonely in eighth, with little to threaten them from behind and little to fight for ahead. While they have had a better-than-expected debut, their car has also proven to have its share of gremlins and glitches. It is therefore likely this team will be focusing on 2017 development this race weekend.
  • The final manufacturer team Renault sits ninth in the constructors' championship. Ninth will not be their targeted position, but the team have made it clear that they are in a multi-year plan rebuilding the team to challenge for podiums, wins and championships. Similar to Haas, they have little to worry about from the teams behind, or to fight for ahead, so the race weekend is likely to be 2017-oriented.
  • With 11 constructors, and only the top 10 eligible for FOM prize money, it is inevitable that the battle amongst the last two teams would be a hard-fought affair. For over four months, it appeared that Manor had won this battle with the sole point that Pascal Wehrlein scored at Austria. However, that order was turned around when Sauber driver Felipe Nasr used the inclement conditions at his home Brazilian GP to sneak in a ninth-place finish earning two points, and catapulting them ahead of Manor. The Manor team have an unenviable challenge in the last race of 2016 - with just ten point-scoring positions available and a car that consistently qualifies at the wrong end of the grid, they must achieve a near-impossible feat of scoring 2 points to beat Sauber (a single point won't due as they'll still lose out on the countback of finishing positions).
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World Drivers' Championship (WDC)
  • Since the Malaysian GP, much has been written and spoken about the WDC battle between the two Mercedes drivers: championship leader Nico Rosberg and the defending champion Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg's win at Suzuka guaranteed the title for one of the Mercedes drivers, although the attention since then has been on Hamilton whittling down Rosberg's points lead. In the three races since Japan, Rosberg has done that which was required of him to secure the drivers' title by coming in second to Hamilton. He enters this final race with a 12-point lead, which means that he has an edge to secure the championship, with only bad luck in the form of reliability or accidents likely to threaten that. There are various permutations that will award the title to either driver, which are summarized below:
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  • Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo sits in third, having secured this position after the various penalties were resolved at the Mexican GP.
  • Behind Ricciardo, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel leads young gun Max Verstappen by five points. Over the past years, Vettel has set many 'youngest' records in F1 that Verstappen is likely to break, so it is to be expected that Verstappen will aim to beat Vettel in the drivers' standings as well.
  • Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen lines up in sixth in the drivers' standings. Although he can mathematically challenge both Vettel and Verstappen, it is unlikely to happen.
  • The Force India driver pair of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg are split by Williams' Valtteri Bottas.
  • McLaren's Fernando Alonso rounds out the top ten, having eclipsed Massa with his point-scoring finishes at USA and Brazil.
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  • The Abu Dhabi grand prix will be poignant for two racers - Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, both of whom have been part of the Formula 1 scene for over a decade. This will be Massa's last F1 race as he is retiring from racing, and is expected to be Button's last race too, despite the development role he has taken with McLaren that keeps an option open for 2018.
  • Two drivers who will be seeking confirmation of their race seats for 2017 are Pascal Wehrlein at Manor and Felipe Nasr at Sauber. Manor have their second race seat also vacant for 2017 with Esteban Ocon being promoted to Force India.
  • Further down the order, newly married Esteban Gutiérrez is one driver who will be feeling the pressure in particular - he's not scored any points in 2016, he does not have a race seat for next year, and his current seat has been given to Kevin Magnussen for 2017.
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Old 24th November 2016, 08:00   #2
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Default Team Previews

Team Previews

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Nico Rosberg
“Obviously, the result in Brazil wasn't the one I was going for. But Lewis did a great job and second place wasn't a disaster in the end. I'm looking forward now to Abu Dhabi. It feels great to be in the World Championship battle with Lewis for a third year in a row. I will give it everything to end the season with a win. I've had a great week, relaxing and catching up with my family and friends, so I feel like I'm in a good place. In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time. But, the more I think about it, the more that's actually not as crazy as it sounds. I have to treat this like any other race. Doing a good job on a Grand Prix weekend is always a challenge. Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won't be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result. I have great memories from winning at this track last year and it's somewhere I've usually been strong in the past, so I have every reason to feel confident. The closer it gets, the more I'm feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.”
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Lewis Hamilton
“To finally win in Brazil was a moment I'll never forget. It had been a long time coming. I'm in a good place right now. I'm feeling super strong in this amazing car that everyone at the factories has worked so hard to give us. I've had 31 wins in four years with this team so far, which is just crazy. I'm so thankful for the great opportunity these guys have given me. We're continuing to make history together. It's not been a perfect season and I'm faced with pretty impossible odds no matter what I do this weekend. But I can't and won't give up. You never know what might happen - however unlikely it may seem. I'll be proud of myself and what I've achieved as long as I feel I've given my all and performed at my best. And, whatever happens, I'm proud of everyone who's been a part of the success we've shared over the past few years. I'm approaching this weekend the same as I do every race. I want to win and I'll give it everything to finish the season on a high.”
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Although this is a mural from Interlagos, it represents the tightly fought battle between
the title contenders over the second leg of flyaway races in the 2016 season!

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“Last weekend we saw yet another classic Interlagos race. To come away from all the drama of the crazy weather, the re-starts and the extreme track conditions with a 1-2 finish was a special result. Of course, the bigger picture is an exciting finale in Abu Dhabi. To have the title decided between our two drivers at the final race of the season, for the second time in three years, shows just how closely matched they are. It also shows how much this team has achieved. We can be very proud of that. But, as a group, we now have one very important final duty this season - to give Nico and Lewis the platform they need to battle it out to the flag. Both of them have been exceptional and either one would make a worthy champion. It's been a gruelling year for us all, with a record-breaking calendar and the added challenge of a new regulation set to prepare for in 2017. After such a battle of endurance, the winner can say without doubt that they earned it. We are all excited to see who that will be. May the best man win.”
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Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
“This is the first time we've had a 21st race in any Formula One season and it's fitting that such a record-breaking year should conclude with the drivers' championship being fought right to the very end. It's great for fans of the sport. Of course, it also means significant tension within our particular camp - but the team has shown itself highly adept at managing this type of situation over the past few years. We will approach this weekend as we would any other, with the primary objective of ensuring that the title is decided on track in a fair fight. While there have been occasional issues over the course of the year, 2016 has actually seen the strongest reliability record in the history of this team - both technically and operationally - giving us good faith in the underlying progress that we've made. The drivers too are in great shape, so we're looking forward to a close and hard-fought competition. Pirelli have included the ultraSoft compound tyre for this weekend, so we could well see qualifying times faster than ever before at this circuit. All in all, we're hoping for a spectacular finale under the magical setting of those Marina lights, giving everyone something to remember as we cap off an incredible year.”

Red Bull
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Max Verstappen
“The track design in Abu Dhabi is quite different, there are a lot of low-speed corners and combinations. The unique layout means it is challenging, a small mistake during one of the many corner sequences can ruin a lap. It is also important to have a strong car in the last sector to keep the tyres alive.

“Away from the car Abu Dhabi has some cool features that set it aside from other races, the hotel goes over the track which is pretty special, it’s great for spectators in that sector. I have had a quick look around the area and spent a bit of time in Dubai which is always good fun. Maybe this year I’ll sample a bit more Arabic food as I haven’t really got stuck into that yet.

“Of course it is the last race of the season and I think we can look back and be very happy with 2016. There is plenty of work to do for next year with the regulation changes and I think everyone is excited to see the new cars so I can’t wait to get started.”
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Daniel Ricciardo
“I have always gone well on the track at Abu Dhabi, it’s been really enjoyable in the past, especially the last sector underneath the hotel, that’s great fun. It has a bit of a street circuit style to the layout which I enjoy. I had my first ever Formula One test at this track so it holds good memories and has generally been good to me.

“I love any kind of hot climate and being warm so I’m very much looking forward to getting out there. I try to get there a little earlier than usual and stay a bit afterwards to enjoy some time in the heat and get out into the desert, ride some bikes and have some fun.

“As it is the last race of the season I usually have some friends out for some fun and there is always a good atmosphere. It’s kind of like the Middle Eastern Monaco, and it definitely has that vibe to it. There are usually some celebrities and good parties knocking around that weekend which adds to the buzz of the season finale.”

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Kimi Räikkönen
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“I like this circuit. It has a quite slow last part of the lap but has a great atmosphere as it is the last race of the year. So, obviously it’s a slightly different feeling and it’s in the evening. The lights are very good. Sometimes it can be not that easy with the lights but the driving conditions are not difficult to get the visual right. The sight is more or less the same in the daytime. It’s not a very easy place to overtake but it’s a challenge to do it. It’s about quite long laps and a lot of tricky corners. So, I’ve always enjoyed it there. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the year and there are many things happening for the people when they come to watch the race.”

Force India
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Sergio Pérez
“It’s the final race of the year and you really want to close the season with a good result. It’s an exciting time and you need to keep focused on the job even though everyone is already talking about the following season. You want to finish the year well to go on holiday with a sweet taste in your mouth, especially this year when there is so much at stake. Nobody wants to have a bad final race; it’s a pretty nasty feeling!

“Abu Dhabi is a cool place and the fans we meet come from all over the world. The facilities at the track are impressive and I’ve always liked racing there. It’s a very fast track, with big braking zones and quick changes of direction. You need a car that is very stable at the rear to make the most of the braking zones. Also, having good traction out of the corners can gain you a lot of time. There are some overtaking opportunities and the possibility to go for different strategies usually produces interesting races.

“Last year’s race was pretty exciting - fighting for the podium against the Ferraris. Even though we fell short, it was a very good race and hopefully we can have another strong weekend after Brazil.

“You always get a bit nostalgic at the end of the season. You know it’s the last time you’re going to drive your VJM09 and you don’t know what the next season will bring. I want to go into the winter with special memories from the final race.”
Nico Hülkenberg
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Nico Hülkenberg races for Force India for the last time, before moving to Renault in 2017
“The final race of the season is always special, but this year even more so. It will be my final race with the team, so it will be emotional to work with the crew and the other team members for one last time. People move around teams a lot in Formula One, so I know it’s a goodbye and not a farewell. I want to enjoy this last race together and make sure it turns into a celebration: I want us to confirm fourth place in the championship, then we will see a lot of big smiles on everyone’s faces and be proud of what we achieved together.

“Abu Dhabi is a very cool place. Yas Marina is very modern and the circuit has probably the best facilities of the whole calendar. The track is not bad either and it’s fun to drive. You race into the sunset and it looks really cool when all the lights come on. It’s a unique experience.

“The pit lane exit is very tricky and one of the most memorable parts of the circuit: you release the pit limiter, accelerate for a second and then you have to brake for the very sharp left hander underneath the track. The wall feels very close and you always hold your breath every time you drive through that narrow exit! It’s a little uncomfortable because as soon as you push harder, you start to slide and it’s very easy to get it wrong.

“Looking at the track characteristics, Abu Dhabi should suit us really well. We had a few strong results in the last few years and I am confident we can get a good one this time around too. I would love nothing more than to sign off from the team in style.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal
“After scoring well in Brazil, we head to Abu Dhabi on the verge of achieving our best ever finish in the constructors’ championship. There is one final step to take and everyone is determined to get the job done and end the season on a high with a strong result.

“The final race is a great opportunity to look back at the work we have done this year. I have always been confident in our team, even when circumstances played against us in the early races and we didn’t get the results our pace deserved. We kept to our plan, trusted our direction and since May we have been on the way up. Monaco was a big turning point and the team has been going from strength to strength since then.

“Abu Dhabi is the culmination of all our efforts, but there is no room for complacency. Both our drivers have an extra bit of motivation to do well - Checo to cross the 100-point threshold, which would be the first time ever for a Force India driver; Nico to close his Force India adventure on a high. This is a track that brought us some good results in the past and it would be special to end the season in style.”

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Valtteri Bottas
“Abu Dhabi is a nice place to finish the Formula One season. The facilities are great there and it seems like more and more people come to this race every year. It’s the place where I had my first ever Formula One test in 2011. It’s a good track for racing and it looks very cool with the sunset. We ended the 2014 season there with a double podium so it would be nice to finish this season with another strong result. Normally it’s a good track for our car because of the long straights and short corners and chicanes, so I look forward to it.”
Felipe Massa
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“It’s going to be another emotional one! You try not think about it too much when you’re in the car, you just try to do as good a job as you can. It’s a really nice track to drive, there are lots of fans who really enjoy themselves at the track and outside of the track and it is, of course, a twilight race which is interesting for us and everyone watching. I really hope the final, and 250th race of my Formula One career, can be a fantastic one. We will of course have a big party! Hopefully we can celebrate with a great result.”
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Felipe Massa departs Formula 1 after 15 years in the sport

Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer
“After two high-altitude races we now head right down to sea level in Abu Dhabi. Although a modern circuit, it is quite challenging with the high-speed areas of Turns 2 and 3, and Turns 15 and 16, really testing the cars. However, the set-up also needs to allow good low-speed change of direction. The two long straights have independent DRS zones giving drivers two bites at overtaking, or conversely, if they accomplish the overtake on the first straight, they must defend on the second. Pirelli are bringing the ultrasoft tyre to this race for the first time, which could prove a difficult tyre to use as the numerous corners that make up sector three may well push this tyre above its ideal operating temperature, particularly as the prescribed pressure is significantly higher than we have used with this tyre before. Unlike Brazil, we can be pretty sure of a dry race here in the desert and, in spite of the introduction of the softer tyre, we would still expect a two-stop to be the favoured strategy.”

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Fernando Alonso
“I enjoy racing in Abu Dhabi every year. Not just because it’s become synonymous with the end of the season, but there’s a unique atmosphere there – a combination of the ‘end-of-term’ feeling, anticipation ahead of the winter development push and the buzz from the fans as we go racing for the final time in 2016. From the cockpit, it’s incredible to race at twilight and watch the light fade as you complete lap after lap. It brings a new dimension to the spectacle and makes the whole weekend really enjoyable.

“The faster first sector and the two long straights in the middle sector at Yas Marina mean that it isn’t a track that will naturally suit our package, but over the course of Friday we’ll work hard to dial in the car to make the most of what we have and extract as much performance as possible. It’s an interesting track to set the car up for, as although it’s in the desert, the track temperature cools a lot during the course of the race as we reach twilight, so the tyre conditions and grip levels are constantly evolving as we reach the chequered flag. It’s a really unique place and a great circuit to end the season at, and I hope we can push for a positive end to the year.

“For McLaren-Honda, this race marks the end of a significant year for the team, and the last time I’ll race with my team mate Jenson for the foreseeable future. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and I’ll miss him being in the garage next to me, but he’ll still very much be part of McLaren-Honda’s plans and I want to wish him all the best for the exciting things he has in store for the next step in his career.”
Jenson Button
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“I’m really looking forward to this weekend, and have been for a few races now. It marks a very special chapter in my life and I’ll have my friends and some of my family out in Abu Dhabi with me which I’m very excited about. It’s going to be a hugely emotional weekend and I hope with the support of the fans, the team and the people that are closest to me, we can go out there and give it our absolute maximum and enjoy the weekend. It’s not the end of my career with McLaren-Honda, but it’s the start of a new phase that I’m incredibly positive about. This race marks the culmination of a huge amount of hard work, dedication and passion for the sport that I love and I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in the past 17 seasons, and the fantastic progress we’ve made over the past couple of years with McLaren-Honda. It’s been an amazing project to work on and my involvement certainly won’t end here. I’m looking forward to concluding this chapter in style and starting a new one with just as much enthusiasm, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“Yas Marina is a pretty technical race track, with a relatively low average speed thanks to the tight corners in the final sector, which gives it many of the characteristics of a street circuit. Typically, overtaking is quite tricky there, so it’s important we do as much as we can in qualifying and hope for a strong, clean start like many that we’ve enjoyed so far this year, and make the most of our strategy in order to get the best possible result. If we use the track time productively on Friday it’ll give us the best opportunity to set the car up for the weekend and, hopefully, avoid a repeat of Brazil where I really struggled for pace in the race. Our package definitely has more potential than that, and I hope that I can push it to the limit and give the team and the fans a good end to the year.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for McLaren-Honda, cements a very positive year, where we have overcome challenges, fought hard, pushed relentlessly and seen firm progression in every area. As I always say, we aren’t where we want to be, of course, but we’re fighting fit and looking ahead to a strong winter of further development. I’m incredibly proud of how far we’ve come in three short years - two on the track - and indebted to the incredible commitment, steadfast loyalty and unwavering support demonstrated by our team members in the UK and Japan, our Partners, and our amazing fans.

“This weekend also marks a very significant moment for McLaren-Honda, as we bid farewell to Jenson, who will be stepping out of the cockpit after the race on Sunday to embark on a new chapter both with McLaren-Honda and in his personal life. As we know, it’s farewell for now and not goodbye, and we’ll be working side by side with him over the coming year, when he’ll be as close to the team and our developments as ever. Nevertheless, it’s a poignant step in our history together and an opportunity to celebrate his 17 seasons in the sport, seven with McLaren, and celebrate his many achievements on track. We’ll certainly miss him in the garage, but we look forward to continuing our relationship and the exciting projects we’ll be working on together in 2017.

“Last but not least, we approach this weekend with positivity, but the awareness that it will be a challenging Grand Prix on a track that is complex in character and offers a set of unique parameters within which to set up the car. With qualifying and the race taking place in very different conditions from the earlier part of the weekend, setting up the car for all eventualities is tricky but is also what makes this venue so unique, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle for fans at the end of a long season. The Yas Marina Circuit and its ever-impressive facilities provide a stunning setting in which to go racing for the final time in 2016, and I hope we can finish the season on a high - for Jenson, the team and our fans across the world.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer:
“With the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 2016 Formula One season comes to an end. It’s been a long season for the team, but for an improving team like ours, every day spent together helps us grow stronger. We’ll also bid farewell to Jenson, who has been the glue to the McLaren-Honda team alongside Fernando since the beginning. We’ll miss his smile at the track, but we’re very happy that he’ll continue to support the team’s development next year.

“The circuit at Yas Marina has a unique layout with a traditional race and street-like circuit combined into one, unlike the several previous races. Each sector is very different, from slow 90-degree turns to full-throttle straights, so it will no doubt be another busy weekend to set up both the power unit and chassis to get the maximum out of the package.

“When we see the chequered flag on Sunday evening, it will mark the transition for us to fully focus on the 2017 package. This is an exciting, albeit challenging time as we have just about three months until our next chapter begins. We hope to end our year on a positive note, and enjoy the twilight race in Abu Dhabi.”

Toro Rosso
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Daniil Kvyat
“It's not the most thrilling of tracks, as many of the corners are very similar, but it's still a pleasant one to drive with a scenic backdrop. It's a circuit that's good for racing also because it's got two good DRS zones.

“I've just remembered! Here [he points at the space in between Turns 17 to 20] there's a very good restaurant - you could wave to the people while they're having dinner! The colour of the sun in the Middle East is really lovely - sort of orange - at that time of day. Our photographer friends can get really nice photos!”
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Carlos Sainz
“Wow, it's already the last race of the season, it's unbelievable how quickly the year has gone by! I'm keen to have some holidays now but I know already that after a couple of weekends without a race I will want to be back on track!

“But now, let's make the most out of this final race weekend. It's not over yet! What I like about Abu Dhabi being in November is that it's like travelling back to the summer for a week - back home it's cold and nearly Christmas, so I enjoy a week of sun and heat in the middle of winter!

“What I also like is the fact that it's a twilight race - we start when the sun is still out and then it gets darker and darker while we're racing, it's cool! Nice for overtaking, yes! And I have to say it's a cool race weekend in general, it's one I enjoy!”

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Romain Grosjean
“It’s just a great venue. The race starts in the day and finishes in the night. You have sundown in the middle of the race, which is fun. The paddock is amazing. The atmosphere is always good, and you know you’re on holiday after the race as it’s the last one of the season. I’ll still be pushing one last time, though.

“Generally, it’s a low-speed corner circuit. The only high-speed corners are Turns 2 and 3. Normally they’re taken flat - easy flat in qualifying. The track has some long straight lines, but you mainly want to focus on getting the low-speed corners correct, especially through the last sector. That’s what you have to focus on in Abu Dhabi.

“Race day’s not too bad the way it [the cooling track] changes during the Grand Prix. It’s more in between FP1 and FP2, then FP3 and qualifying, where you’re out at two different times of the day. You have a big difference in track temperature and car behaviour. That’s something you need to keep in mind. We don’t have any data from the past. We won’t know what we’re doing in advance between FP3 and qualifying in terms of aero balance and setting up the car. These are things we have to find out for ourselves when we get there.

“I won there in GT1 (in 2010 with Matech Competition). That was my first-ever GT World Championship start, and the first race with that team, and we won. It was a pretty good moment taking the win and leading the championship.”
Esteban Gutiérrez
“It’s luxurious and it’s modern. It’s an incredible track. There was a lot of investment in it. Every time you get there it’s like a whole different world, like a Disneyland more or less. It’s nice to get there and have the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

“You have to compromise in the first sector, which is mainly about high-speed corners. Then you have sectors two and three, which are about straight line speed and braking into chicanes and slow-speed corners. You have to manage the tyres, and that’s the most challenging part.

“Once you are into the race, it [the track] doesn’t really change much. It changes a lot after three or four o’clock and the sun starts to go down and by the time the race starts it’s already on a very good level. Everything is more stable. The temperatures are more stable, the tyres are working better and, usually, you can manage them better by not overheating them.

“You just have to consider how the balance of the car is going to evolve during the race. Basically, what’s the plan going to be in terms of changing the car balance a little bit through the race with the front wing and with all the tools we have in the car.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“[With the Yas Marina Circuit] They did a great job. They made a huge investment to make it a showplace. Everything is there that you would want to have there. There is nothing missing. It’s just state of the art. It’s a fantastic place to go to for the season finale.

“[With the race beginning in the late afternoon and ending at night, the track] cools down and, hopefully, that helps us with tyre management because we are more competitive when it cools down. Our car seems to prefer a cooler ambient temperature, and like we saw in Brazil, when it got colder, we could get the tires to work in that window. I think it is getting cool enough that we get them in the window in Abu Dhabi.”

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Kevin Magnussen in a quick-fire Q&A session:
Abu Dhabi: Final race of the year
Yas Marina Circuit: Not my favourite
Day to night race: Cool
Late start lie-in: Good
Favourite corner: Turn three
Should it suit the R.S.16?: We’ll see
Best place to overtake: Turn 11
Worst place to overtake: Turn 12
2016 race expectation: Hopefully points
Jolyon Palmer
“It’s a track I know really well as I’ve done a lot of GP2 Series laps there. I completed my first-ever Formula One test with Force India and then sadly it was only a few FP1 laps there last season for Lotus F1 Team. It’s a nice track and it’s a nice place to end the season. It’s a glamourous event with the additional aspect of racing into the night which is really atmospheric.”
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer
“There are no particular challenges (to Yas Marina), rather it’s quite a generic track in terms of its requirements. The track surface is smooth, so ride is not too much of an issue - which is a positive for us considering the R.S.16 which can struggle somewhat on bumpier surfaces. In terms of layout, there’s a mix of long straights - a couple connected by a chicane - with some twisty stuff too meaning there’s a bit of everything.

“More particular is the timing of the race, as it takes place under twilight conditions. FP1 and FP3 take place earlier in the day than qualifying and the race, so they’re not terribly representative of competitive conditions. The track temperature decreases quite a bit after the sun sets so we need to consider this when determining a set-up for the car, making it less straightforward than at other race meetings.

“We’re expecting far more predictable weather conditions than we saw in Brazil, so it would be really nice to have both cars in Q2 and to end the race adding to our points tally for the year. It’s a realistic hope if everything goes our way over the weekend, including some misfortune for others! It would be a tremendous boost for the team going into the winter.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director
“Abu Dhabi is our final Grand Prix in our rookie season as Renault Sport Formula One Team. It has been a tough 20 races so far on track, as we expected, but for us the story has been our real progress made behind the scenes.

“On track in Abu Dhabi we want a strong and positive race to end the season. There will be a lot of attention at the front of the field as the drivers’ championship is decided, but for us a strong end to the year would be a good endorsement of all the hard work wrought over the last 12 months. We have faith that both Kevin and Jolyon will deliver what’s expected of them for the final time this season and for Kevin we wish him well for the future.”

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Marcus Ericsson
“With the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix we approach the season finale. It is hard to believe that we have now reached round 21 - time really flies. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is always a nice race weekend. Besides enjoying driving on this circuit a lot, the fan atmosphere and the events around the track are great. It will be an exciting weekend, as not only will the world champion be crowned, but we will also fight again for our tenth position in the constructors’ championship.”
Felipe Nasr
“After my great result at my home Grand Prix in Brazil, I am traveling to Abu Dhabi with a positive mindset. I enjoy being there, as I always receive a warm welcome and a lot of support, both in the UAE and the whole of the Middle East, because of my family’s Lebanese roots. The food is really amazing, but I also like the people, their traditions, and their cultures. The season is not over yet, so our objective is clearly to keep our current position in the standings.”

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Pascal Wehrlein
“We just have to do our very best and see where that gets us. I think we have to be realistic about what is possible in Abu Dhabi, but that shouldn’t stop us fighting all the way to the finish.

“Over the last couple of races we have seen what a difference three solid practice sessions makes to our qualifying and race preparation. We have to get everything right, and at the same time, identify every little advantage and opportunity. If that happens, we have shown four times this year that we can make it into Q2, and a better starting position can make a big difference in the race. Brazil happened, so the chance to show more of what we have achieved together this year is what we are targeting.”
Esteban Ocon
“I will forever be grateful to Manor Racing for giving me the opportunity to begin my F1 career, so my objective is to help put a smile on everyone’s faces on Sunday afternoon. Getting both cars to the chequered flag with one last strong performance under our belts is my target. It maybe won’t change the situation in the constructors’ standings, but it will be a measure of what the team has done well so many times this season.”

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As the sun sets over the dunes
And those towers of lights turn on
It's time to fire up those engines for
One very last time this season!

Sources: formula1.com, instagram.com/f1, fia.com, FIA Media Kit, yasmarinacircuit.com
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Old 24th November 2016, 08:12   #3
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Int'l Motorsport Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th November 2016, 09:52   #4
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It is such a heavy tilt in the german's favor, but I have to root against all odds for Lewis!
The most he can do is finish first, but unfortunately his nearest competitor has the same car, and that car is miles ahead of everything on the grid. Here's hoping for a miracle in the desert!
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Old 24th November 2016, 09:56   #5
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It's a phenomenal looking track and results in some great videography.

All Rosberg needs is a podium finish; that's not too difficult when you have the fastest car on the grid. If Rosberg wins, he & Keke will be the second father-son duo to have become F1 Champions (1st being Graham & Damon Hill).

Hamilton has shown his form in the last couple of races & how! Nico simply couldn't fight with him. Might be a bit too late in the season though. If there were another 2 - 3 races left, I'd bet on Lewis winning the championship, but with a 12 point deficit in the final race, it's Rosberg all the way (unless there is some sort of mechanical failure).

Been an entertaining season. This is going to be a long winter!
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Old 24th November 2016, 14:34   #6
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Brazil race has made me a straight fan of OCON! I am happy that Rosberg is going to win the title, lest any failures, but I will be rooting for Ocon this time to do good. He was phenomenal last time.
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Old 24th November 2016, 14:43   #7
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Red Bulls splitting Hamilton and Rosberg or even Verstappen behind Roseberg will be very interesting. And going in to the first corner, Rosberg will be more bothered about Verstappen than Hamilton. Can't wait for this final race.
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Old 24th November 2016, 14:45   #8
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Nico Rosberg is due for a mechanical failure, never prayed harder.
Lewis deserves the championship, he has driven like one except in Baku. I am still rooting for him.
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Old 24th November 2016, 15:02   #9
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Is it again going to be telecast only on Star Sports Select HD? I really hope not.
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Old 24th November 2016, 15:22   #10
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I think Nico drove brilliantly this year, he was consistent, and whoever wins this years championship will have reasons to back themselves.

Having said this, I think Nico will win the championship this year. My prediction is Nico will win and Lewis will finish 3rd, lets see.
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Old 24th November 2016, 17:57   #11
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
It's a phenomenal looking track and results in some great videography.


Been an entertaining season. This is going to be a long winter!
It is definitely better compared to previous years in terms of unpredictability.
But Nico grabbing the trophy leaves a bad taste. Dunno why I hate him so much. Been a Lewis and Fernando (and McLaren) fan for too long I guess...urrggh.
Like the climax in Real Steel, Lewis will have to settle for the "People's Champion" probably.
Bring 2017 on !!

No one's speaking about Ron ??

Last edited by polopm : 24th November 2016 at 17:59. Reason: Piece about Ron !
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Old 24th November 2016, 19:37   #12
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Originally Posted by polopm View Post
It is definitely better compared to previous years in terms of unpredictability.
But Nico grabbing the trophy leaves a bad taste. Dunno why I hate him so much. Been a Lewis and Fernando (and McLaren) fan for too long I guess...urrggh.
Like the climax in Real Steel, Lewis will have to settle for the "People's Champion" probably.
Bring 2017 on !!

No one's speaking about Ron ??
Nico winning the championship would be really crappy, he is ahead merely by luck because of Lewis's bad luck. He is not a deserving champion at all, simply the best car and mediocre talent.

There a saying 'Lady luck favors the brave" and Lewis has proven this year beyond any doubt and haters by driving the way he has after so many mechanical failures. If not for Malaysia when he was cruising to a certain victory he would undoubtedly be champion in 2016.

I am hopeful that lady luck will sit on Lewis's shoulders, Nico will have a mechanical issue which will put him out of the race and Lewis will take the win and championship.

Guys, I don't hate Nico which is what may appear to be from my statements above, but, I find it difficult to digest him winning the championship because he simply does not deserve it.

Regarding Ron Dennnis - I think he really is great! In such a leadership position democracy only will create anarchy. More or less it has to be "my way or the highway". If not for his direction, talent and leadership style Maclaren would not have scaled the heights it has. Simple.


Last edited by Cyborg : 24th November 2016 at 19:38.
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Old 24th November 2016, 22:43   #13
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Here we are. Good to have the big question unanswered after another year of Mercedes domination. It is time for a new champion, hope Rosberg has a boring yet straightforward race!
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Old 24th November 2016, 22:50   #14
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Default Thursday Drivers' Press Conference

Thursday Drivers' Press Conference

With the Abu Dhabi GP being the last race of the 2016 season, it is also the last race for two stalwarts of the grid. Also, with the drivers' title battle coming down to the wire, there is tremendous attention on the two drivers in contention. This led to the press conference being designed with those key players in mind.

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The interviewees at the press conference on Thursday evening were Jenson Button (McLaren), Felipe Massa (Williams), Felipe Nasr (Sauber), Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg (both Mercedes). The press conference occurred in two parts - the first 20 minutes had the 5 drivers shown above, while the second part had just the two title rivals from Mercedes.

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The first part of the press conference started with Jenson being asked about his last race:
Q: Jenson, if we could start with you: officially you're on option for 2018 but as there's a chance this could be your last Formula One grand prix tell us about the adventure of the last 17 years?
Jenson Button: Wow, we could be here for a little while! First of all I go into this thinking it's going to be my last race. I think that's the best way to be and at this moment in time I don't want to be racing Formula One past this race, and that's the whole idea. Anyway, I think of this as my last race and hopefully everyone else does as well. Yeah, it's been a long journey. Since eight years old until now I've been racing in motorsport and everything before Formula One was work to try and get to Formula One. You get to Formula One with many dreams and you aspire to be something and hopefully you leave the sport with memories. That's something I definitely do have from my 17 years of racing in Formula One. Lots of amazing memories, lots of life-changing memories – some good, some bad – and also to walk away with the world championship is a very special feeling as well. To race with two of the teams that I dreamt of racing with when I was a kid – Williams and McLaren – and when I did win the world championship it was with a privateer team, which I think is also pretty special. Obviously a very memorable year of my life and in the future it's something I'll hopefully be telling my grandchildren all about, how we came from nothing and we ended up winning the world championship. There are so many memories that I can't put them all out on the table right now, but that's a small snippet of my career. Over 300 grands prix. I will definitely step away from Formula One happy with what I've achieved and knowing that my life really does start now.

Q: Ok, well, huge changes going on at McLaren. Are these changes that will leave the team stronger for the future?
JB: You always hope changes that you make for that reason do work of course. I think there's still a lot more going on before next year. But of course I will still be working at McLaren-Honda, so yeah you hope that that the change will be positive. New outlook, fresh ideas and certain things that have changed the team definitely needs and hopefully we can put that to good use next year and in the future.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Jenson you have been pretty unequivocal now about your feelings about this being your last race, but it wasn't quite presented in the same way initially. Why the change between Monza and here?
JB: Nothing's changed. I've just gone into this last race thinking that it is my last. I don't want to go into this race thinking that it's not my last and it is my last. It is true that I have a contract for 2018 but at this moment in time I don't want to be racing in 2018. But the whole idea about having a contract was that in three months' time, when I've eaten myself stupid and I'm thinking of things to do in the future and I feel like I need Formula One back in my life, but at this moment in time that isn't the case. So this is my last race, that's the way I think about it at the moment, but who knows that could change in six months, eight months, one year.

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Thereafter, the discussion moved to Massa for the same topic, particularly the rousing reception and send-off he received in Brazil...
Q: Felipe coming to you: obviously in Brazil incredible emotions in the pit lane, incredible scenes, unprecedented really in Formula One. Rival teams such as Mercedes and Ferrari were coming out to applaud you as you walked back towards the garages. Describe the emotion of that moment?
Felipe Massa: It's difficult to describe. It was such an amazing feeling. The first moment after I crashed I was not happy because I wanted to finish the race. My last race at home… I even prepared a Brazilian flag in corner one to do the lap and I was so disappointed to finish like that. But then when I started to walk and I started to kind of talk with the grandstand I just had an amazing feeling. I started to cry, I couldn't hold. That walk I was doing was like forever. It was an amazing feeling; it's impossible to describe what I was feeling. And then when I get to the pit lane, I saw all the teams out, I couldn't believe. It is still in the middle of the race and the race just stopped. For that… that feeling is just impossible to describe, how emotional it was and how thankful I am for everything that I pass through this year. The only thing is to say thank you for everybody, including you guys, including everybody that was around me for this period that I was racing Formula One. I really hope Jenson feels the same here in this race, because it's a very special feeling and a very special emotion and I'm really thankful for everything that I passed through. And as Jenson said, I'm so happy and proud of my career, even if I couldn't have the title like him, I was missing one point but anyway I'm so proud for everything I passed through, everything I worked with, or friends, incredible and difficult moments… it was really an amazing feeling.

Q: Two hundred and fifty and out then this weekend, you are the only driver to have finished in the points in all of your races in Abu Dhabi? How do you want to sign off on Sunday?
FM: With a good result! That's what I wanted to finish with also in Brazil! I'm really looking forward that we can have a nice race here. I think a good result is what gives you more happiness. I managed to finish here second two years ago. I know it will be not easy to get the same this race, but if you can take the best out of the car, if you can do a good race that is when you feel happy.

Q: (Abhishek Takle – Mid-Day) Question to Felipe. You spoke about the emotional send-off you got in Brazil. I wanted to ask you, at the end of the day, leaving with that sort of respect and regard, does it count for me than the trophies and the championships?
FM: Definitely. I think that is what you represent in the human side. That's really than a lot bigger than a simple trophy. That really represents a lot and the respect, how you are, I think that's really important for me as a person. Definitely. People not just looking at you only as a driver, people looking at you as a person, as a driver, as everything. It really represents me massively for everything that happened.

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... before they were both asked their views on the same questions...
Q: (Seff Harding – Xero Xone News) For Felipe and Jenson: as you two get ready to leave the sport there are a lot of changes coming in 2017, what are your hopes for the future of Formula One as you leave the sport?
FM: Well, I hope to be honest what everybody hopes: to see Formula One more competitive; to see more than one team fighting for the championship; to see more drivers winning the races. That's what everybody has hoped since a long time in Formula One. That's what I hope to see when I am watching the television, to see these guys fighting, not to see only one guy winning the races or maybe only one team. So that's what I hope.

JB: Yeah, I totally agree. I think coming up through… starting in 2000 and racing here in 2016 the sport has changed quite a lot – a lot for the positive. There are always going to be negatives, especially when you are trying new trends and technologies and what have you. But the main reason why I think people turn on and watch Formula One is the fighting, seeing different teams and different drivers fight for every race. For sure we've had it in the past when the have only been two drivers fighting for the championship but it's been with different teams. Basically Mercedes are doing too good a job and nobody else is doing a good enough job right now. We are all working hard to catch up but it's tough, because they are very competitive. I think that is what's going to attract people more next year, if there are more teams fighting at the front, different drivers winning more races, because at the moment if nothing goes wrong with Mercedes, if they don't have any issues, they win the race and a bad result is finishing second to your team-mate. That's something that needs to change but obviously we will see if it does. Hopefully the rule changes, which are very big, will help other teams find a new direction and close the gap, because that's exactly what we want to watch, as Felipe said, and it's the only reason I'll be watching Formula One next year.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesport.com) To Jenson and to Felipe. With 17 and 15 years of experience in Formula One, what would you do differently to what you did in the past?
JB: It's a good question but I think for both of us our job is not to look back. It's to live in the moment right now. This our last race and I think we're both looking forward to getting out on the track. There's no point trying to change the past because you can't. You've got to learn from your mistakes and move forwards. It's living in the moment and looking forward to the future.

FM: I think it's the same. To be honest, you do so many things in this long time of your career. Maybe one or the other you would try to do different now – but I mean, to be honest, I'm really happy for everything I did, really happy for everything I learned. Even with a difficult situation, that it happens, maybe I would do it differently yes, but I was always professional and I gained more by doing that than by doing different, so I'm really happy for everything I passed through and everything I learnt.

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The interview went on to the other drivers, starting with Räikkönen...
Q: Coming to you Kimi, how are you feeling: two of your contemporaries are leaving the scene, are you going to miss them?
Kimi Raikkonen: I mean I left once already so I kind of know how it feels. Obviously, it's their choice and I'm sure they will have a lot of fun and I wish them all the best for whatever they do in their lives. For sure, things will change in F1 in the future and all of us will leave one day and that's just how it goes. They've both had a good long career in it and I'm sure they will have some other things to do now.

Q: Your world title win in 2007 is a good example that anything can happen in a Formula One title showdown race. Hamilton needs something similar to what you got to win the title on Sunday. Tell us how you approach an ‘anything can happen' mentality and what do you think will happen on Sunday?
KR: I don't know what will happen on Sunday obviously, we'll see on Sunday and over the weekend. When I was in that situation obviously we had nothing to lose, so we go as any other race. We had a strong weekend and a strong last part of the year so obviously that helped. I don't think there's a point in doing anything different than you normally do. You always come to a race and try to do the maximum. Our only chance was to try to win and then see what happens to the other guys. As a team they did a very good job of it and then obviously had some luck involved and all things fell into place, so who knows what will happen on Sunday but whoever wins deserves it.

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... before focusing on Sauber's Felipe Nasr ...
Q: Has the [Brazilian point scoring] result changed anything with respect to our future in Formula One?
Felipe Nasr: I would expect that it does help for sure. If anything that a racing driver can do is to contribute to a team with points and I know how much these points are valuable. Let's put it this way, we know how much these points mean in terms of the championship the points and the restructuring the team will take for '17, so it's the best, the best I could have given them.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) Felipe Nasr, you're the only one up there whose future is not clear at the moment. What is the position? Are you taking to Manor? How's it going at Sauber?
FN: There are still negotiations going on. The talks are with Sauber mainly. That's our priority right now. As I said, I have a great relationship with the team. It's been two great years. We saw the two sides of the coin. Then first year I had in Formula One I was able to do so much, to achieve so much in a very first year. The second, we had such a difficult time, the car being uncompetitive, but it was nice that we were able to get those two points in Brazil. I'm sure that has given a boost to the team. These two points mean a lot for myself, for the team and hopefully we will know it soon.

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... and finally concluded with Verstappen facing the journalists...
Q: Finally to you Max, you were cast as the bad boy of Formula One not long ago and now you're being billed, after Interlagos, as the new Senna. How do feel your image and the way you fit in here in Formula One has changed after Brazil?
Max Verstappen: Difficult to say. I don't think that's up to me. I just try to do the best possible race I can. I was definitely enjoying myself in Brazil but I'm not sure if it has changed something for me personally in terms of my reputation.

Q: Are you and Red Bull feeling fast enough and confident enough to mix it with the Mercedes on Saturday and Sunday and make those title contenders sweat a little bit?
MV: We'll try. I think they will be very strong in the dry anyway, so it will be difficult to beat them but hopefully we can be very close. That would be very positive for us.

Q: (Jerome Pugmire – AP) Given how well you've raced this year, especially the victory that you got and also the performance in Brazil, what are your objectives for next season? What do you see as realistic for you to achieve?
MV: I think maybe that all depends on the package you get around you, you know? So if it's the fastest car on track, for sure we can win races. So, we'll see. I think we're all very positive about next year but I think it's important to just wait and see when the car gets to the track. Then we'll know more. At the moment it's a bit difficult to say what exactly what I want to achieve for next year because you don't know what the packages are.

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With the first part of the interview concluded, these 5 drivers left, and Rosberg and Hamilton took over the microphones, to tackle questions about the title battle, their season together, and their relationship.

Q: We'll start with you Nico. How are the nerves? Compared to the 2014 Championship showdown are you feeling more confident this time?
Nico Rosberg: It definitely helps to have been there, done that, y'know? This is the third time that we're fighting for the Championship and the second time that it's gone to the wire so for sure that helps to feel more relaxed.

Q: OK. We were just talking with Kimi Räikkönen, his 2007 Championship very unlikely given you and Alonso were leading going into that race. Another unlikely one was here in 2010, where Vettel was the least fancied going into that weekend and he came out as the World Champion. Do you take confidence from those two turnaround events, so say that anything is possible in this scenario?
LH: Not really ‘cos, I mean… it doesn't really make any difference to this weekend.
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Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC) To both of you, Lewis has obviously had worse reliability this year out of the two of you and would be leading on points even if Malaysia hadn't happened. Nico, how would you feel about the perception that that's facilitated your championship win if that's the way it happens. And Lewis, how do you feel about that too.
NR: Of course I'm aware of how the season has gone for both of us but those thoughts… first of all the season isn't even finished. We still have one race to go so it would be premature to get into any such discussions but anyways, such thoughts, I don't have them at the moment, in any way because for me it's about concentrating on myself this weekend. I'm excited because it's the last race, fighting for the Championship again with Lewis and yeah, so I'm just really focussed, trying to get the job done. I really would like to win this race and finish the season with a win. That would be awesome.

LH: Well, I mean… I don't know. For me it's… as I said, it's been a challenging season in terms of having the ups and downs that I've had but I think that I've really managed to strengthen. In terms of turning negatives into positives, this year has been a real challenge in terms of strengthening that tool and being able to do so. So I'm really proud of what I have achieved. There have been moments where in the year where… 43 points behind, thought it was impossible to come back but somehow turned it around. I've been 33 points behind and almost turned it around. So, I think this year has generally shown that, for me… continued to show me that anything's possible if you put your mind to it. I'll keep the facing the races that are coming with that mentality.
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Q: (Jerome Pugmire – AP) Question for Nico, given that you've finished runner-up twice and are in a dominant position coming into this race, if you do finish second, would this be the most bitter of the three runner-up positions that you've had.
NR: Again, why…? That's not going to make me go faster to have such thoughts y'know? About something that might or might not happen in the future. For me what's important is now. And that's worked for me until now, and that's why I'm in this position, fighting for the Championship right here, because of that approach. So I'll stick with that, continue and focus on a race win this weekend. That's it.

Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail) To Nico. Can you say that you won't get involved in any dodgy driving or with it all on the line is it no-holds barred in this last race?
NR: Again, it's none of what you just said. It's going to be a weekend like any other where I'm going to go for the race win and do what it takes to get that. And that's it.

Q: So whatever's needed to do it, is it?
NR: Within the limits of what's acceptable of course.
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Q: (Simon Lazenby – Sky Sports) Lewis, you mentioned your starts there. If you aren't to go on to win this championship, will you look back and how much responsibility personally will you take for it, along with perhaps the reliability issues that have cost you?
LH: I won't really look back. When I get to the end of the season I'll be looking forwards. I generally don't dwell to much on the past. I can barely remember the races so there's not really much to look back on and dwell about. But you know I've learned a lot this year, grown a lot, my relationship with my engineers, my new mechanics that I have, that relationship has also grown a huge amount, so there has been lots and lots of positives. I'll look into another year. The further we go on in our age, the less championship fights we'll have, or opportunities we have, so naturally you want to utilise every single one but if I was to look back on the season, I would mostly look… if there was anything to be negative about it would obviously be cars failing in certain places for… a car that just wouldn't stop through testing with the same engine to then have the issues we've had. But again, Mercedes recognised those faults and tried everything they could to try and rectify them and improve. We take that, collectively as a team, onto next year and hopefully we will be stronger and won't have problems like that. We are a team, we win and we lose together. As I said, I'll just be looking forwards into another season. I know my ability, I think I've shown in time and time again and I'll continue to do so in the future.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Lewis, one of the Twitter users would like to know, would you consider backing Rosberg into the pack on Sunday, assuming you lead by Turn One, Lap One.
LH: No, my sole goal, as I said, obviously Nico's been pole for the last two year here. He's been very, very quick. This has generally been a relatively strong circuit for me but I have not delivered in the last two years, so my sole goal is to do so, make sure I'm at my best this weekend as I have been the last couple of races. In terms of tactics in the race, that has to come on Sunday. I have to really think about that. But that's not really every been my thought process. I've always just really just tried to… if I'm out ahead I want to be generally as far ahead as possible. Generally when you have a 18s… 30s lead that's as painful a blow as you can give to the guy you're fighting. So, when you look at the last race, if we didn't have red flags I would have been 30 seconds ahead and those scenarios for me, it's more valuable, it's more of an achievement that backing up your team mate. Plus here, while in theory it sounds like it makes a lot of sense, practically it's not very practical to do. You have two long DRS zones here. Wouldn't be very easy and very wise to do so. So, no.

Q: (Walter Koster – Saarbrucken Zeitung) Nico, on Sunday evening, the season will be over but let's come to the beginning of the season, but don't worry, I'm not going through the whole season. But at the beginning five mechanics from Lewis's team and five from your team left the team for Lewis. What was your impression of this change? Was it, at the end, a good idea during the season? What were your thoughts concerning this change? Were you surprised? Obviously you were not a fan of this change and who had this idea?
LH: That's a very good question. And I would also just like to add to it, what was the explanation given to you?

NR: So the easiest way to answer that is if we look at the recent team spirit within the team because you know we've been fighting now for three years and within the team they've been fighting for the race wins and for the championship so it's quite natural that a little separation can happen between the two sides of the garage and for the overall team performance that's not a good thing because for the overall team performance you'd want to have great team spirit, everybody fighting for one direction, everybody holding together and that's why the decision was taken to rotate a little bit and I think it's shown this year that it's been a very very good thing to do because our team spirit has been as good as ever, we've seen that recently and we've had some great parties together and whatever. Everybody's just sticking together and it's an awesome feeling within the team so it looks like that it was the right thing to do, even though initially it's not something that's super comfortable because my mechanics are close to me and it feels good and everything; to then change takes a little bit of time to gel as Lewis touched on before but I understand that from a team's perspective that was the right thing to do and it's worked well.

LH: You'll have to buy my book down the line in ten years time when I tell you exactly what happened. It will be an interested read.
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Q: (Rene Hofmann – SudDeutsche Zeitung) Lewis, Nico, could each you just briefly talk about your relationship developing during these three years of fighting for the championship against each other, please?
LH: Yeah, it's been an interesting one. We obviously had a very good relationship generally when we started out, when we were kids. Back then a race weekend was generally... for kids karting it's... you're out having fun. You go out and drive and you come in and you fool around, you give a bit of information to your mechanic and you go and play Playstation or you go unicycling. We had a lot in common. We both love pizza, we loved eating boxes of Kellogs Frosties and doing all the crazy things and we go out on big motorbike tours. We did all those things. I still do everyone of those but Nico has shifted in the sense that he's very very solely focused in terms of looking after himself. And obviously we went quite different ways when we were young: he went BMW, I went Renault. But then we got to Formula One and this was something that we had spoken about as kids and yeah, we obviously had ups and downs but ultimately I think we've managed to – particularly in the last year and at the age we are – which is pretty old, considering when we first met – I think we've been able to manage it pretty well and I'm really happy for him and his family and proud of stepping away from being our competitive selves, proud of him of how he's driven, particularly this year obviously and generally it's been a pleasure having him as a teammate.

NR: The thing is that we still have from back in those days is the base respect and that will never go and that has definitely helped us through these years. For sure, I have a lot of respect for Lewis outside of the car and also inside the car. As I've said, we've had some difficult moments but also some good ones over the past years and this year, generally, I think we've made progress and so yeah, it's generally neutral but of course it is a difficult environment.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, did you study the history of this race. In 2010, for instance, Alonso lost the World Championship because he could not overtake Petrov and so it's very important to be in front of Nico. Maybe you need that. Do you think you do any special preparation for that? And the second question for you is that in 2014 you had a kind of magnetic field around you, we could not approach you because it was dangerous for us. You were so nervous, we could see that. In the weekend here, 2014.
LH: In terms of studying the race... the engineers obviously know the history of this race and where have been the good and negative points, the things that I can work on for this weekend so I'm fully up to date with that. Generally there's one line through the first sector, for example, it's very hard to follow, you pretty much need a one second, a 1.1s advantage over the car behind so that you can be in a position to overtake the car ahead so there's quite a big delta compared to other races and it makes it very tough, hence why I am coming here to make sure I'm on first place on the front row which is... as I said, very much aware of how difficult it's been in the past but with the belief that I've been able to do in the last races I believe I can do it here and I know that I can do that here so that's the goal.

And the second one was the... ah, 2014. Yeah, it was a turbulent year again. I remember... was that the year that we had the issue at Monaco? Right. So we had the issue at Monaco and then there was the issue at Spa, so we went through quite a lot of ups and downs again that season and then to get to the last race where it was double points... I didn't sleep the night before the race which is one of the first times if not the only time. Yeah, I'd worked so hard... we'd worked so hard, me and my mechanics and engineers, so hard that season to be at the last race and through mechanical failure or something, to have the championship taken away from us... we fully deserved it. I'm pretty sure it was definitely difficult then. Coming here this year is a lot different. I fully believe me and my side of the garage have worked the hardest and yeah, we are not in the position which we've worked for but we are still in a position of power, we are still pushing hard, we still aspire to motivate, we're still very very focused on winning. I'm very very proud of my engineers. I think, as I said, we've grown a lot closer this season than ever before. I think our work ethic is greater than it's ever been, and my new mechanics that have come on board, I feel I've really... it started out really tough with us at the beginning of the year, particularly, I would say, on their side because they just didn't understand what's going on and then we had all those problems following, so then they felt on their social media, they felt a lot of heat, fans thinking... people were blaming them which was nothing to do with them. And then we had a lot of success so I built a really great relationship with them, so really really proud of the unit that I have now and of course I feel that we have worked to the point of deserving to have been champions this year as our group but we have this one last race which, all we can do is focus on being great this weekend as we have the last races before. We've really grown into a solid unit and continue that way.

I like these press conferences when it's just us two.

Q: (Seff Harding – Xiro Xone News) Nico, you've played it pretty conservative back in Brazil, last few races, but that might not be the case this weekend if the Red Bulls get up tight...
NR: I don't think you would be saying that if you had been out in the race car with us. You wouldn't call that conservative.

Q: (Seff Harding – Xiro Xone News) Are you prepared to deal with that, given the Red Bulls may have a chance to split you two and make things interesting for this title fight?
NR: I'm here to win, not think about who might or not come between or be right behind me or whatever. No, I'm just here to win and I know that with the car that I have and the form that I'm in, I can make it happen and I'm just focusing on that. That's it.

Q: (Ralf Bach – AutoBild Motorsport) Nico, be honest, what is more important for you here: winning the championship or a victory?
NR: For me, here, the most important thing is to do an awesome performance, because that's going to give both, isn't it, so I'm doing whatever it takes to give the best possible performance and that's the same thing that I've done for all the other races. Taking this as one more race, keep it simple, focus on going for that race win and putting everything towards that and not thinking about what if, because that wouldn't be the right approach for me and that's what feels good to me and that's what I'm sticking with. Understandable?
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Old 25th November 2016, 14:05   #15
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

I do not understand so much hatred for Rosberg and for me, he rightly deserves a shot at title this season. He may not be as skilled as other multiple title winners, but this season he has driven consistently and that is why he is leading the championship. While everyone talks about the mechanical issues on the other side of the garage, Nico himself had his own share of penalties this season. Difference is other drives got away most of the time, but he was always caught for his mistakes and duly penalized.

In F1, it's always been the great car driven by a good driver won the title. You can see the same pattern during the domination of Williams, Mclaren, Ferrari, Redbull and now Mercedes. So it is not a surprise if Nico wins, since from beginning Mercedes have been very vocal about both drivers being treated equally and given equal chance to win.

Last edited by Makin Rulesz : 25th November 2016 at 14:06.
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