Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi

Ricciardo dominates both days in young driver test

Daniel Ricciardo was by far the fastest man in the last two days in Abu Dhabi, as he topped the timesheets in both days of the young driver test on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was driving for the Red Bull team, and managed to beat Sebastian Vettel’s pole position lap by an entire second.

Dean Stoneman ran with aerodynamic equipment on his Williams

Dean Stoneman ran with aerodynamic equipment on his Williams

Tuesday

On the first day, Ricciardo was a second faster than Oliver Turvey, who was driving for McLaren. Antonio Felix de Costa, a 19-year-old for Force India, was third.

Esteban Gutierrez, who is Sauber’s test driver, was 4th, ahead of Dean Stoneman (Williams) and Mikhail Aleshin (Renault). Jean Eric Vergne was 7th for Toro Rosso, followed by Paul di Resta, who shared his car with Antonio Felix de Costa across the day.

Sam Bird was 9th for Mercedes, Jerome D’Ambrosio 10th for Virgin, Pastor Maldonado 11th for HRT, and Jules Bianchi was 12th for Ferrari. Rodolfo Gonzalez was 13th in the Lotus car, and 17-year-old Rio Haryanto (Virgin) was last, although he only completed 21 laps, only a quarter of many other drivers’ totals.

Daniel’s time of 1.39.616 was an excellent time, but it must be considered that the track was approximately 1.1 – 1.4 seconds faster than the Grand Prix there last weekend.

Times from Day 1:

Position
Driver Car Best lap Gap
Laps
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.39.616 83
2 Oliver Turvey McLaren 1.40.725 1.109 85
3 Antonio Felix da Costa Force India 1.41.381 1.765 77
4 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1.41.432 1.816 88
5 Dean Stoneman Williams 1.41.522 1.906 70
6 Mikhail Aleshin Renault 1.42.073 2.457 58
7 Jean Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1.42.489 2.873 93
8 Paul di Resta Force India 1.42.736 3.120 28
9 Sam Bird Mercedes 1.42.985 3.369 67
10 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 1.43.518 3.902 36
11 Pastor Maldonado HRT 1.43.750 4.134 108
12 Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1.43.894 4.278 59
13 Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1.44.924 5.308 83
14 Rio Haryanto Virgin 1.49.439 9.823 21

Wednesday

The last ever Bridgestone tyres ever to be used in Formula 1

The last ever Bridgestone tyres ever to be used in Formula 1


 

On Day 2, Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time again, and this time was a second a lap faster than Vettel’s pole lap on Saturday. Sebastian’s time of 1.39.394 was beaten by Ricciardo, D’Ambrosio and Bird. Like last time though, the track has rubbered in hugely since last weekend.

Jerome D’Ambrosio was 7 tenths behind, followed by Sam Bird and Gary Paffett, who took over from Oliver Turvey in the McLaren.

Jules Bianchi improved to 5th, Sergio Perez got his first taste of the Sauber car he will be driving next year, and took it to 6th place. Paul di Resta was 7th, just ahead of Pastor Maldonado. Jean-Eric Vergne was 9th, but had his day interrupted by an engine problem with his Toro Rosso engine.

Yelmer Burrman shared the Force India with Di Resta, and took 10th position. Davide Valsecchi, driving the Hispania car, was 11th. He shared that car with Josef Kral, who was 13th. Luiz Razia was 12th for Virgin.

The Lotus car was at the back of the timesheets, in the hands of two different drivers, with Rodolfo Gonzalez going much faster than Vladimiar Arabadzhiev.

Wednesday was the last ever day of Formula 1 cars using the Bridgestone tyre. The Japanese company have made over 700,000 racing tyres for F1 in the last 14 years, and fitted the last set to the Lotus cars.

Times from Day 2:

Driver Car Best lap

Gap
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.38.102 0
Jerome d’Ambrosio Renault 1.38.802 0.700
Sam Bird Mercedes 1.39.220 1.118
Gary Paffett McLaren 1.39.760 1.658
Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1.39.916 1.814
Sergio Perez Sauber 1.40.543 2.441
Paul di Resta Force India 1.40.901 2.799
Pastor Maldonado Williams 1.40.944 2.842
Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1.40.974 2.872
Yelmer Burrman Force India3 1.41.178 3.076
Davide Valsecchi HRT 1.43.013 4.911
Luiz Razia Virgin 1.43.525 5.423
Josef Kral HRT 1.44.143 6.041
Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1.44.312 6.21
Vladimiar Arabadzhiev Lotus 1.45.723 7.621

Abu Dhabi circuit sold to government

The Yas Hotel, right in the middle of the Yas Marina circuit

The Yas Hotel, right in the middle of the Yas Marina circuit

Yas Island, which includes the Yas Marina circuit, has been sold off by Aldar Properties to the Abu Dhabi government.

Note that this is not just the circuit, but also the other features on the island as well. On Gulf News, Aldar’s chief financial officer Shafqat Malek said:

“This includes roads, utilities on the Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit which is home to the Formula 1 race track, Yas Marina and the Yas Yacht Club.”

“The sale will improve Aldar’s liquidity position and help the company settle its debts this year of around Dh4.5 billion (about £ 720 million),” said Nabil Farhat, partner with Al Fajer Securities. “They will also have enough cash to complete their projects.”

The Yas Marina project is a $36bn development project by Aldar Properties. 1,700 hectares of the 2,500 have been claimed for development. This development includes a Warner Bros. Movie World (a theme park), Ferrari World (another theme park), the famous Yas Marina hotel, a water park, the Yas Mall, golf courses, lagoon hotels, and much more. And the Formula 1 circuit of course!

It was such a huge project, it was named the World’s leading tourism project at the World Travel Awards in November 2009. However, Aldar Properties has invested far too much into development projects over the United Arab Emirates, around $78bn. Therefore, the property crash in the UAE has prompted them to sell off their assets, to stay afloat. It is unclear whether the Abu Dhabi government will keep the Yas Marina facilities or not, but I’d say they will sell it off in a few years.

Kobayashi will keep aggressive driving style

New BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi

New BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi

New BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi has said that he does not plan to change his very aggressive driving style.

The Japanese driver impressed last year, even though he only drove in 2 races, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. His extreme driving style won him many instant fans, including myself. To put it this way, in only his second race, he got past the newly crowned world champion, Jenson Button.

Because he needed to perform well to get a seat for 2010, many people feared that he would become less aggressive. However, Kamui disagrees, saying:

“I don’t think it is something special for me, it’s just my style. I will keep like this, of course without crashing. It is my style and I won’t change.”

He also feels that he is better prepared this season:

“We come in to this season having enough time to prepare for it,” Kobayashi said. “The last two races [last year] I had no testing, so it was really difficult, but now I have so many tests and we can work with the car from the beginning of the season.”

Kobayashi said that he was unwilling to make predictions for 2010 before testing, but said:

“I will try to be the first Japanese driver to win, this is my ultimate goal. But at the moment it is too far away to think about that and I am just focused on my tests now.”

My analysis of his driving style staying is short and sweet: Yay!

Sutil: F1 too safe for its own good

Adrian Sutil in Abu Dhabi

Adrian Sutil in Abu Dhabi

Adrian Sutil has hit out against the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, branding it “safe but boring”.

In an interview with The Times of India, he said of the circuit:

“It was just straight and really, really boring. But I probably cannot say anything bad about it for it’s safe, like what all modern circuits should be.”

His opinion didn’t stop at the Yas Marina circuit, saying that many drivers felt that F1 was losing its thrill, because of boring circuits. He stated:

“The majority of the drivers feel this way. Of course there are a few who like the way it is, safe. There will always be different opinions about it but most of them would say there can be some changes in the circuits.”

“”Everyone loves driving because there is thrill in it. If it was not dangerous, maybe so many drivers would not be doing it.”

“Maybe there are certain risks in it but if you don’t take those risks, it would get boring. Circuits are getting too safe and driving is not so nice anymore.”

The Indian Grand Prix is scheduled for 2011, and Sutil hopes that the designers will listen to him, and put in fast and challenging corners. Unfortunately, the draft layout by Herman Tilke last November seems to indicate many slow corners, such as hairpins and chicanes.

In my opinion, we need a wide variety of circuits on the F1 calendar. Slow and difficult to overtake circuits like Monaco and Hungary should stay, while we also need high-speed challenges like Spa, Brazil and Monza. A few medium circuits like Turkey, Malaysia and China should stay also. Because of the new tracks coming in in the next few years, Barcelona should probably go.

Abu Dhabi to host 2010 finale

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009

After the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council today, it was decided that the 2010 calendar was to be changed, with Abu Dhabi now taking the final race of the season instead of Brazil.

The Brazilian Grand Prix will now be moved to the 7th November, with Abu Dhabi on the 14th. Korea’s race (yet to be homolgated) is scheduled for the 24th October, the third last race.

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar
14 March – Bahrain
28 March – Australia
4 April – Malaysia
18 April – China
9 May – Spain
16 May – Monaco
30 May – Turkey
13 June – Canada
27 June – Europe (Valencia)
11 July – Great Britain
25 July – Germany
1 August – Hungary
29 August – Belgium
12 September – Italy
26 September – Singapore
10 October – Japan
24 October – Korea*
7 November – Brazil
14 November – Abu Dhabi

*Subject to the homologation of the circuit.

Note: The races in Australia and Abu Dhabi will start at 1700 local time, in Malaysia at 1600 local time, in Canada at 1200 local time, in Singapore at 2000 local time, and in Japan at 1500 local time.

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