Abu Dhabi GP Preview

Who will be World Champion - Rosberg or Hamilton? You cannot be world champion unless you drive an Aldo Costa designed car
Who will be World Champion – Rosberg or Hamilton? You cannot be world champion unless you drive an Aldo Costa designed car


The 2016 Formula One World Championship season concludes this weekend with Round 21, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, from the Yas Marina Circuit

  • Nico: "Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won't be any different
  • Lewis: "I'm proud of everyone who's been a part of this success"
  • Toto: "After such a battle of endurance, the winner can say without doubt that they earned it"
  • Paddy: "We will approach this weekend as we would any other"

Vital Statistics: Yas Marina

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.

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.

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 grueling 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.

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 tire 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.

Vital Statistics

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Timetable


Local Time (GST)

Brackley (GMT)

Stuttgart (CET)

Practice 1

13:00 — 14:30

09:00 — 10:30

10:00 — 11:30

Practice 2

17:00 — 18:30

13:00 — 14:30

14:00 — 15:30

Practice 3

14:00 — 15:00

10:00 — 11:00

11:00 — 12:00


17:00 — 18:00

13:00 — 14:00

14:00 — 15:00


17:00 — 19:00

13:00 — 15:00

14:00 — 16:00

Weather.com Forecast (Accurate as of Monday 21 November)









24 November

21 — 29°C



16mph ESE



25 November

19 — 27°C



23mph ENE



26 November

19 — 27°C



16mph E



27 November

20 — 27°C



13mph ESE


Dates for Your Diary

Monday 21/11/16

Fact: Unlike His Counterpart from Del Monte… the Man from the Marina Says "Yas" (N.B. Fact May Not Be Factual)

Tuesday 22/11/16

Anniversary: Nico Rosberg 25th F1 Front Row (2014 Abu Dhabi GP)

Wednesday 23/11/16

Anniversary: Lewis Hamilton 2nd F1 WDC Title (2014 Abu Dhabi GP)

Anniversary: Nico Rosberg 10th F1 Front Row (2013 Brazilian GP)

Anniversary: Former Silver Arrows Team Principal Ross Brawn is Born (1954)

Anniversary: Former Silver Arrows Driver Christian Kautz is Born (1913)

Thursday 24/11/16

Event: 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Media Day

Anniversary: Former Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug is Born (1952)

Friday 25/11/16

Event: 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice 1

Event: 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice 2

Anniversary: Karl Benz, Inventor of the Motorcar, is Born (1844)

Saturday 26/11/16

Event: 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice 3

Event: 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying

Sunday 27/11/16

Event: 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race


It's just seven years since Abu Dhabi arrived on the calendar with Formula One's first ever twilight race, yet the Yas Marina circuit has already established itself as a staple of the season. The ultra-modern design stands apart thanks to its unique features, including the LED-lit hotel sprawling over the circuit and tunneled pit lane exit, as well as joining the likes of Monaco and Singapore in boasting a trackside yacht-filled marina. The long straights and open nature of the circuit promote entertaining racing, and the venue was the scene of celebrations for Williams in 2014 as a double podium for Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas secured the team 66 points in the double points system, the most points scored by a team at a single grand prix.

For Abu Dhabi, Pirelli have made available the ultra-soft, super soft and soft tires.

Pat Symonds

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 two and three, 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 ultra-soft tire to this race for the first time, which could prove a difficult tire to use as the numerous corners that make up sector three may well push this tire above its ideal operating temperature, particularly as the prescribed pressure is significantly higher than we have used with this tire 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 tire, we would still expect a two-stop to be the favored strategy.

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

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.

Force India

Vijay Mallya on Abu Dhabi

VJM: "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."

Sergio Perez on Abu Dhabi

"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 Hulkenberg on Abu Dhabi

"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."

Toro Rosso

Just one to go! We're off to the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi — How time flies! Carlos and Daniil are looking forward to the weekend and beyond and find time to look back too…

Carlos Sainz: Wow, it's already the last race of the season, it's unbelievable how quickly the year has gone by!

Daniil Kvyat: Yeah, and so much has happened… there were some bad times, but it's turned out all right in the end. I can't wait for next season to start, but I'm also quite happy to see the end of this season. You know the feeling when you need a change… and next year there are many changes!

CS: yes, that's true. 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!! However it won't be a boring winter, there will be no time to hang around without doing anything!!

DK: Actually, I don't know about your training schedule for winter, but I had a talk with my trainer the other day …wow, there's really a lot to do to get ready for next year, but I like it a lot…it's an additional challenge to face.

CS: yes, the same for me, but I'm very happy that being in good shape will make a bit more of a difference. I can't wait….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!

DK: you are Spanish…You don't put up with the cold as well as us Russians, then! [He says with a cheeky laugh, as usual.] To go back to the track, the one in Abu Dhabi is typically modern…

CS: There are many 90 and 180 degree corners.

DK: You don't sound extremely excited when you say that, but it's true… 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.

CS: Yes, I agree.

DK: It's a circuit that's good for racing also because it's got two good DRS zones.

CS: Nice for overtaking, yes! And I have to say it's a cool race weekend in general, it's one I enjoy!

DK: Ah! 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!

CS: 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!

DK: Oh yes, I really like that too! The color 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!

Our cameras will also be ready to capture the best moments of the final 2016 GP! Enjoy it, guys! Give it your all!


The season finale in Abu Dhabi on the Yas Island will be the last destination for Formula One in the 2016 World Championship. As in previous years, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will again be held under floodlights on the Yas Marina Circuit — starting at sunset and finishing in the dark. After a thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix, in which the Swiss team scored its first two points of the season after a great performance by Felipe Nasr, he and Marcus Ericsson will again fight for tenth position in the constructors' championship in Abu Dhabi.

Marcus Ericsson (car number 9):
"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 (car number 12):
"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."

Track facts:
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a unique race, starting at sunset and finishing in the dark, which takes place on the Yas Marina Circuit. This track, surrounded by the desert sands, is quite spectacular in an exceptional setting with a stunning hotel that overlooks the flat circuit. Especially during Friday practice and the race, the temperatures will go in the opposite direction to what we usually experience. The first sector features a mix of mid to high-speed corners, the second one is about straight-line speed, braking and traction and the third sector looks like a street circuit and calls for grip and downforce.

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