On June 25, 2008 the FIA announced the provisional 2009 Formula One calendar including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the 19th and final race of the season on November 15. On November 5, 2008, however, it was announced that the race would be held as the season finale on November 1, two weeks before the initially planned date, as the 17th and final race.
The inaugural race was Formula One's first ever day-night race, starting at 17:00 local time. Floodlights used to illuminate the circuit were switched on from the start of the event to ensure a seamless transition from daylight to darkness. Subsequent Abu Dhabi Grands Prix have also been day-night races.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is Formula 1’s original day/night race. The race begins at 17-00hrs local time, in the dusk and ends in darkness, with floodlights illuminating the track. The temperatures drop during the race and this has a significant bearing on tyre performance and thus race strategy. This was shown by the race in Bahrain, which also followed this format for the first time this season. The Yas Marina Circuit features six corners below 100 kph – only Monaco, Singapore and Valencia have more. The track surface is smooth.
Track length : 5.554 kilometres.
Race distance : 55 laps (305.355 kilometres).
Corners : 21 corners in total. Average speed 197km/h.
Aerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce.
Top speed : 320km/h (with DRS open) 307km/h without.
Full throttle : 60% of the lap time (ave/high).
Fuel Consumption : Med/High (Max Downforce, lower average speed, frequent acceleration events).
Brake wear : Medium.
Number of braking events : 12.
Time spent braking : 17% of the lap. Third or fourth most severe circuit of the year on brakes.
Total time needed for a pit stop : 23 seconds.
Ease of Overtaking : Low (difficult to overtake even with double DRS zones).
Lap record : 1:40.279 (Germany Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2009).
POWER UNIT ELEMENTS
Details of drivers power unit elements used prior to the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.
Ahead of their title showdown, it seems highly appropriate that the weather conditions facing Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton this weekend will resemble those usually associated with shoot-outs in the Wild West, with UBIMET, the official meteorological service provider to the FIA, predicting dry and dusty conditions.
It is unlikely we will see tumbleweed blowing down the pit straight, at least not literally, as the Mercedes duo go head to head at a circuit best known for its bling as opposed to on-track thrills.
Ahead of the weekend there will be a mixture of some high and mid-level cloud, but otherwise mostly fine and sunny conditions are expected. Local sea breezes in some areas will see temperatures reaching reach 30 to 32 degrees Celsius.
From Friday to Sunday, the wind will be moderate from northern directions, bringing dust over Abu Dhabi and reducing visibility in some areas. Whether the dusty conditions will remain for the whole race weekend is still uncertain. The probability for rain is very low with dry conditions likely to prevail. The highest temperatures will range between 29 and 32 degrees C.
Yas Marina has a very smooth track surface with a wide variety of corners and speeds, as well as warm weather that is consistent all year round, which makes it a favoured venue for testing. Because the circuit is quite varied, teams tend to run a medium downforce compromise set-up. Overtaking tends to be quite tricky at Yas Marina, so strategy can help boost track position.
The smooth surface generally leads to quite low levels of tyre wear and degradation. The race starts in the late afternoon at 5pm and ends in the evening, which means that track temperatures tend to vary from start to finish, sometimes dropping off dramatically. Traction is a key aspect of tyre behaviour in Abu Dhabi, with all the acceleration out of corners. Like Brazil, Yas Marina is an anti-clockwise lap, which is not typical of the rest of the season.
Abu Dhabi will also be the final grand prix for the current generation of cars, before the new 2017 rules come in that should increase lap speeds by five seconds compared to 2015. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have made exactly the same tyre selections for their title showdown. The most aggressive choice is from Nico Hulkenberg, with eight ultrasoft sets.
The Three Nominated Compounds are:
Yellow soft: seen at every race but is the hardest compound available this weekend.
Red supersoft: used previously at Abu Dhabi and like the soft, it's a mandatory available set.
Purple ultrasoft: this has a speed advantage, so puts an interesting variable into strategy.
Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, has retained two DRS zones for this year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As in previous seasons, the first activation zone at the Yas Marina Circuit has been placed on the run between Turns 7 and 8, with the detection point situated just before Turn 7.
The second designated area follows on another sizeable run between Turns 10 and 11, controlled by a separate detection marker on the exit of the Turn 8/9 chicane. Monte-Carlo and Suzuka were the only circuits to feature just one DRS zone this season.
Nico Rosberg travels to this weekend’s Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi with a 12-point lead over his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and has the chance to claim his first world title.
The German driver only needs to finish third – even if Hamilton wins – to secure the championship. If Hamilton finishes second, Rosberg must be sixth or better, and if the Briton comes third, Rosberg only needs to finish eighth. If Hamilton finishes fourth then Rosberg will win the title no matter where he ends up.
Both Rosberg and Hamilton have good history at the Yas Marina track. Rosberg has been on pole at the 5.554km circuit for the last two years running and he won in 2015. Hamilton has won the Abu Dhabi race twice (in 2011 and 2014), and he retired while leading in both 2009 and 2012.
Hamilton has never outqualified Rosberg at the Yas Marina track since they became teammates at Mercedes in 2013, but that year was only occasion in the history of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he has only failed to qualify on the front row.
In terms of their form in recent races, Hamilton has taken victory from pole position at the last three races in a row, which is the first time he has achieved that feat in his F1 career. Rosberg has both started and finished second for the last three races in a row, and his last win was at the Japanese Grand Prix last month. The 31-year-old has finished in the position he has qualified in six of the last eight races.
If he were to prevail in the title fight, Rosberg would become the third German to win the F1 world championship after Michael Schumacher and Vettel. He would also do so 34 years after his father Keke won his world title 1982. This would make them the second father-and-son F1 champion combination to take the crown after Graham and Damon Hill – with the latter’s 1996 championship victory also coming 34 years after his father’s.
I know for a fact that Lewis will win this race and the championship. I have to believe it as he does. That's the inspiration that he gives out. Like he says:
"Generally, I look at things and think "I can do that"- if I really put my mind to it, and focus my mind and energy. I'm conscious that I’m going to have to put in the required time and means to achieve that goal."
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