For the third time in the circuit’s six-year history, Yas Marina hosts the Formula One season finale. This promises to be a race to remember, with double points on offer (50 for a win, instead of 25) and lots of potential movement in the points standings. The circuit layout contains three distinct sections: some fast corners in sector one, long straights in sector two and tight corners in sector three, reminiscent of a street circuit. Car set-up is a compromise between straight-line speed and achieving good traction out of the slow corners, and engineers have to be wary of the cooling track temperatures as the sun goes down in what is the only twilight race of the year. Overtaking should be possible in the two DRS zones, and with so many points at stake this weekend it’s fair to expect plenty of action.
Abu Dhabi has a great mix of long straights with high straight-line speed, big braking and a tight twisty section at the end of the lap. Our main focus is going to be on the third sector and getting the balance right there, which is always difficult due to the changes throughout the weekend with the temperature. You get a large variation in temperature throughout the sessions. It’s important to focus on the dusk to early evening track as that is the time the race will take place. The track has great facilities and you always get a really good crowd, who will hopefully be behind us. Our ambitions remain the same, to finish with a decent haul of points and finish third in the championship.
The track is like a street-circuit in one sector with slow corners and barriers quite close, and then a traditional circuit in the other with very long straights and flowing corners. We race in the evening but practice during the heat of the day, so to adapt the car towards cooler conditions is important, it can save a lot of time if you get this right. Being the final race of the season and with double points it is a very important race to finish in the top ten.
Abu Dhabi is going to be an exciting race and it could play out one of two ways. The double points could be interesting and we will try and play it to our advantage. We have been trying to secure our position in the championship and so continue to focus on this, but I can still finish fourth in the Drivers’ Championship I will focus on this as well. It’s a nice place to go to, the temperature is warm, the people are friendly and the facilities good so I am looking forward to the race.