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Abu Dhabi GP | Arrivabene and Horner steal the show on Friday

Bringing you our usual hearty summary, including the latest news from the Yas Marina paddock.

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Abu Dhabi GP | Arrivabene and Horner steal the show on Friday
Fuente imagen: MotorLAT

F1 and drama are no strangers, but one thing which is certainly closer to the sport is anticipation. Today's summary will begin with an announcement which was overdue and spoiled flamboyantly.

It was a long time coming. Toto Wolff and Mercedes after months of speculations finally announced that Esteban Ocon is undertaking a testing and simulator role for 2019, which will perhaps lead to a full-time drive at the German outfit.

Robert Kubica was at the wheel of the FW41 for his last FP1 outing as a reserve driver. The Pole bluntly declared that it was a tough session from a driving standpoint, as having been 4 months out of the cockpit made him feel rusty. However, his main concern is working with the tyres at post-season testing and gathering useful data.

Same goes for Kimi Raikkonen, but in a slightly more relaxed way, as he is going to take part in the testing with Sauber. Antonio Giovinazzi also had his FP1 run today but his testing schedule is still unconfirmed, as he insisted the decision in only down to the Swiss team.

The FIA press conference took a huge bite of today’s mediatic attention, with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner throwing a few cheeky digs to Cyril Abiteboul and Toto Wolff.
The Briton explicitly suggested that Toto could teach Ocon what the flags mean, when the Austrian manager made the announcement over the role of the Frenchman for next year. Obviously he was seeking some sort of payback following what happened in Brazil.
The savagery goes on as Horner talks the farewell to Renault and slips on “Cyril was making the tea when we first started with Flavio”. The Frenchman reacted: “He’s always nice!”, putting the stress on the rough attitude of his colleague.

The press conference also featured an important announcement, as Maurizio Arrivabene was asked to give more details on Laurent Mekies’ position at Ferrari, which was still unclear and anchored to the generic label of “technical role”.
The Frenchman formerly worked at the FIA and was thereafter hired by the Maranello-based outfit at the beginning of the season. Arrivabene stated that Mekies is going to be Ferrari’s sporting director, filling in the shoes of Massimo Rivola, whereas Jock Clear will cover the role of Charles Leclerc’s race engineer.
Furthermore, things turned volatile as the lack of 1-2s and Vettel’s mistakes were brought up again in the press conference and Arrivabene was visibly irritated. Ferrari’s missed chances are certainly a fresh wound, but the team is ready to move on and any further questions about it just sound overly redundant.

Zak Brown also spoke in a media session and gave a great deal of details on McLaren’s F1 plans and IndyCar project. The American dropped a few bombs, stating that Fernando Alonso might test the 2019 car, as his role would also involve continuing to help Sainz and Norris with the development of the car. Additionally, McLaren’s ongoing restructuring will culminate in James Key’s arrival, who will be there in 2019, “at some point”, as Brown later clarified.
The McLaren Indy project is still going through an embryonal phase, but full trust has been put into Bob Fernley’s hands. The newly accounted president of the Indy department of McLaren will be in Indianapolis next week to recruit more people and build resources, as the engine announcement will be made before Christmas.

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