A FILM SET - READY AND GLAMOROUS
Formula One arrives at the Yas Marina circuit with a world champion who has secured his fourth World F1 title two rounds early, preventing fans of that last minute thrill we all hope to see at a season finale, though all teams and drivers are willing to end the season with their best performances yet.
The modern circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke, offers the utmost in luxurious amenities. It´s located on the Yas Island, half an hour away from the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi and encompasses a five-star hotel, the Ferrari World Theme Park, a VIP Solar Tower, residential areas, and beaches.
The anti-clockwise circuit is an official venue for the Formula One calendar since 2009. Racing driver Bruno Senna has been the first ever to test run on the circuit.
CAMERA ROLLING - TAKE 20 – ACTION!
With teams and drivers set to return for next season, works ahead 2018 are running fast before a winter break.
Staff must be tired back in the garages, but the show has one last presentation to make in Abu Dhabi with main stars, Ferrari and Mercedes, battling to steal the scene.
Ferrari is looking forward to making a strong statement by winning the race, setting the path to follow which should only lead to the first place in the podium.
Despite having both, the drivers and the constructor´s championship on its pockets, Mercedes is certainly determined to finish in style, an already memorable season for the German team.
Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Force India have been dealing the cards this season, but other teams have raised eye browns and are now candidates for the "best supporting role".
Renault and Toro Rosso have spontaneously performed some very intense, dialogue-driven scenes. Suddenly, they were exchanging press releases. The camera brought to light a divorce gone bad.
Main “characters” Helmut Marko and Cyril Abiteboul exchanged heated "conversations" at the Brazilian paddock, engaging with their audiences worldwide.
LOW PROFILES DO HIDE INTERESTING STORIES
The team founded in 1993 by Swiss driver Peter Sauber (owned by Swiss investment firm Longbow Finance since 2016) has kept the rumors around their 2018 driver´s line-up going on and on as a final statement is still expected to be released.
An announcement supposed to happen in the Brazilian Grand Prix, confirming the team drivers line-up for next season never did.
The Brazilian soil seemed like the perfect place for Tetra Pak, a packaging empire, and sponsor to Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson´s career, to confirm his continuity. The company owns massive presence in the Brazilian market.
Nonetheless, when questioned on the subject during the Team Principal´s press conference in Brazil, Sauber CEO, Frédéric Vasseur said: “We will do the announcement, I hope, in Abu Dhabi. For sure we’ll do it before Melbourne next year and that I won’t postpone it each week. But I think Charles is doing a good job; the situation in FP1 is not an easy one because the first target is to avoid crashing and by the way that he’s consistent and he always shows a strong pace and he’s doing a good job”.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Charles Leclerc is signed for next season, but spectators must have to wait a bit longer to learn who´s going to be racing alongside him for the Sauber team.
Marcus Ericsson (27) is likely to make a comeback next year than Italian driver, Antonio Giovinazzi to debut in his place instead.
Sauber currently holds the 10th position in the overall standings with 5 points, all scored by Ericsson´s teammate, the German driver, Pascal Wehrlein.
The Swedish driver has seven DNFs to his count so far and hasn´t succeeded in scoring points for the team.
By now, we know for sure 2018 won´t have a Brazilian driver on the grid. Whether it will have an Italian driver back, that is still left to the wonder.
The British team does not confirm neither denies giving Robert Kubica his third test at Abu Dhabi. The Pole driver (32) tested for the team on two occasions last month, Silverstone and Hungary, outing in a 2014 FW36 Williams spec car. Kubica completed a programme in the simulator as well.
The third test though would happen in the current FW40 spec car, during the official Formula One Pirelli tyre test, taking place in Abu Dhabi a week after the race weekend.
The team is evaluating whether Kubica is fit and ready to make a full-time comeback to Formula One after the life-threatening injuries sustained back in 2011 in a rally crash.
Williams did not reveal information regarding the closed doors tests but did say his outings were “successful”.
Back in August, Kubica tested a Formula One car for the first time in seven years. The test took place in Hungary during the second and final day, in a 2017 F1 Renault car with results considered “impressive”.
The Pole set the fourth place after 142 laps while Sebastian Vettel, fastest driver of the day, completed a total of 42 laps with his Ferrari SF70H.
Williams is expected to announce who is going to drive alongside Lance Stroll in 2018 before the end of the year.
Lance Stroll new teammate remains a mystery parked in the speculation zone where Sauber driver, Pascal Wehrlein is on hold for the “key role” as well as former Toro Rosso´s driver Daniil Kvyat.
PAINTED ORANGE - McLaren
Yas Marina will also be the last race of the McLaren-Honda failed partnership.
McLaren and Amazon teamed up early this year to develop original content on a Behind the Scenes Series, exclusively for Prime Video.
“The series will take Amazon Prime members inside what it takes to compete at the highest level of Formula 1 racing,” said Conrad Riggs, Head of Unscripted, Amazon Originals.
“It will combine unparalleled access with exciting and dramatic storytelling that will appeal to racing fans and non-racing fans alike,” Riggs added.
“McLaren dominated F1 in the modern era, creating champions like Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton. But they are also a family who have recently gone through difficult times, both on track and off,” said Executive Producer Manish Pandey. “And like all families, we will watch them pull together to regain their rightful place at the head of F1.”
“At McLaren, we want to showcase and celebrate every element of Formula 1. We understand and appreciate that Formula 1 fans are always keen for greater levels of access, insight, and information, and this series will give them the most intimate and honest access to a modern Formula 1 team that’s ever been seen,” added Zak Brown, McLaren Executive Director.
The series should provide a proper behind-the-scenes glance into a controversial season, marked by the divorce between the legendary team and its engine supplier.
The series follows the team on the 20 calendar venues, also including footage of how the McLaren team prepares his crew physical and mental, as for how it builds and tests its cars.
This year, Amazon has released a wonderful documentary on Bruce McLaren´s life titled “McLaren: Pioneer. Leader. Father. Champion”.
The documentary is brilliantly directed by Roger Donaldson, a must see.
“I felt that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone”. Bruce McLaren.
Sometimes, I go back and watch previous seasons as in an effort to figure out what makes the series that special, so it keeps on running since 1950, only to end up with the obvious answer; it´s all about Racing.
Guess I just look for an excuse to enjoy those moments again before getting ready to go and live another “pedal to the floor” season of the best racing series in the world, Formula One.