The final race of the season takes us back to a more standard lap length of 5.554km and to sea level, a change after the high-altitude challenges of Mexico and Brazil. This anti-clockwise track produces one of the slowest lap times of the year, courtesy of the high number of corners – the majority of them being low-speed. The three sectors making up the lap are quite distinct: short sector one tests the medium to high-speed performance of the car, while sector two is dominated by long straights and low-speed corners. At the end of the lap, sector three is an intense series of low-speed corners. The Yas Marina circuit is a challenge for engineers too: it’s very hard on the brakes and the practice sessions take place early in the day, with higher track temperatures than those we experience during qualifying and race at twilight, meaning it is important to assess the car requirements accurately. As in Brazil, where Scuderia Ferrari secured the victory with German driver Sebastian Vettel, the Maranello team will use Friday not only to prepare for the race, but also to help the development of next year’s car.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was announced in early 2007 at the Abu Dhabi F1 Festival in the United Arab Emirates. The first race took place on 1 November 2009, held at the Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina Circuit. Since then Red Bull scored three wins (2009, 2010, 2013), as well as Mercedes (2014, 2015, 2016), while Scuderia Ferrari will attempt to take its first victory at the Yas Marina Circuit, after Sebastian Vettel finished third last season, just behind the two Mercedes drivers who were fighting for the Formula One title.
In 2015 Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen took third for the Maranello team, behind Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, while in 2014 Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen barely managed to get into the top ten, after a very difficult race. The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was Scuderia Ferrari’s best chance of winning at the Yas Marina Circuit, as Fernando Alonso finished just behind Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault).