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Race information - Abu Dhabi 2016 // The season finale and host of the championship showdown

Published by Christine

It seems incredible that a season with such vast swings in the championship lead could come down to the final race of the year, but here we are. It’s Abu Dhabi, and whilst not a circuit that inspires confidence that we’ll see a classic event, tensions are running high as there’s a title on the line. It’s been a long year, and everyone is keen to see this season wrapped up but which way is it going to go? There’s only one way to find out!

Event schedule

Although it is Lewis Hamilton chasing for the championship in this final round, the pressure is all on Nico Rosberg’s shoulders. Hamilton has to go all out for the win, and that’s all he can do. The rest is in his teammate’s hands, as it will be down to bad luck or a mistake on the German’s part for everything to turn around. It’s going to be an interesting fight, assuming it doesn’t all unravel at the first corner one way or the other.

Elsewhere, there are only three seats for the 2017 season up for grabs, so all eyes are on the Sauber and Manor team to see who has impressed them and/or who has provided the most cash for the coming year. With a few changes happening in the mid-field it’s interesting to see how some drivers cope with their final races for their current teams.

Talking of final races, we are, of course, bidding a fond farewell to Felipe Massa this weekend, after his emotional send off in Brazil. And we also wave a perhaps temporary but likely permanent goodbye to Jenson Button as he embarks on a much needed sabbatical. Probably good timing as well, considering the bad feeling at McLaren at the moment.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
25 NovFridayFree Practice 109:00
GMT +00:00
13:00
GMT +04:00
Free Practice 213:00
GMT +00:00
17:00
GMT +04:00
26 NovSaturdayFree Practice 310:00
GMT +00:00
14:00
GMT +04:00
Qualifying13:00
GMT +00:00
17:00
GMT +04:00
27 NovSundayGrand Prix13:00
GMT +00:00
17:00
GMT +04:00

Support racing for this event includes GP2 Series and GP3 Series.

Expected conditions

The race in Abu Dhabi has been bumped towards twilight, meaning temperatures will be cooler than in years gone by, but naturally it's expected there will be clear skies for the most part. The one tricky variable to deal with will be the winds, as they can blow dust onto the track and reduce grip throughout the weekend.

There could be some cloudy conditions, particularly at the start of the weekend, but by the time the final race is underway, it's expected to be sunshine, and then moonshine with no problems at all.

Clear with periodic clouds

Yas Island, Friday

31℃

  • Low 20℃
  • Humidity 48%

Clear with periodic clouds

Mostly sunny

Yas Island, Saturday

31℃

  • Low 19℃
  • Humidity 48%

Mostly sunny

Dry conditions

Yas Island, Sunday

31℃

  • Low 20℃
  • Humidity 46%

Dry conditions

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitYas Marina Circuit
LocationYas Island
CountryAbu Dhabi
TimezoneGMT +04:00
Race debut2009
Laps55
Length5.554 km
Distance305.355 km
Line offset0.115 km

Yas Marina Circuit hasn't always been the site of classic races, but its position at the end of the racing calendar means it has seen some championship showdowns. The nature of the circuit - flat, technical, quite dull - means that the action can leave a lot to be desired, but still, it's a weekend worth watching.

This year, some of the guardrailings and bollards have been replaced, whilst there has also been a kerb added at turn one, but otherwise the circuit remains unchanged. A lap of the track takes in three distinct sections: the first featuring some fast flowing corners, the second indulging in some incredibly long straights, and the final section slowing things down considerably.

Of the seven races that have taken place in Abu Dhabi, three have been won by Sebastian Vettel, two by Lewis Hamilton, and a single win each for Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Rosberg. Pole position is considered very useful, particularly as overtaking can be difficult, but it isn't the be all and end all to a good race result.

Results for the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:43.754
Free Practice 2Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:41.983
Free Practice 3Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:41.856
QualifyingNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:40.237
Grand PrixNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:38:30.175
Fastest lapLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:44.517

Tyre compounds

Pirelli are giving their new ultrasoft tyres a final outing in Abu Dhabi this weekend, bringing the three softest compounds to Yas Marina for the drivers to choose from. The smooth track surface and mixture of fast and slow corners, mixed with the warm conditions, can make life a little easier on the tyres than at other venues.

There are a variety of strategies going on this week, with drivers favouring the softs and ultrasofts more than the red striped tyres. Vettel, along with a few others, has only brought one set of supersofts to the mix, whilst Hülkenberg is sacrificing both yellow and red stripes for more of the ultrasofts to be available to him.

Selected tyre sets per driver
Soft tyreSupersoft tyreUltrasoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton427
Nico Rosberg427
Sebastian Vettel517
Kimi Räikkönen427
Valtteri Bottas427
Felipe Massa517
Daniel Ricciardo526
Max Verstappen526
Nico Hülkenberg328
Sergio Pérez337
Kevin Magnussen526
Jolyon Palmer436
Daniil Kvyat427
Carlos Sainz427
Marcus Ericsson346
Felipe Nasr346
Fernando Alonso517
Jenson Button517
Pascal Wehrlein436
Esteban Ocon436
Romain Grosjean427
Esteban Gutiérrez337

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayJenson ButtonMcLaren Honda
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing
Felipe NasrSauber F1 Team
Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari
Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
FridayStephen FitzpatrickManor Racing MRT
Monisha KaltenbornSauber F1 Team
Otmar SzafnauerSahara Force India F1 Team
Claire WilliamsWilliams Martini Racing
Toto WolffMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Silvia BellotMember of the Royal Spanish Automobile Federation Board of Directors, FIA Women in Motorsport Commission Member, and FIA steward.
Gerd EnnserMember of the DSMB's Executive Committee for Automobile Sport, and a Formula One and DTM steward.
Tom KristensenEight times Le Mans winner, German F3 Champion, Japanese F3 Champion and ALMS Champion.
Andrew MallalieuAndrew Mallalieu has been building up to becoming an FIA steward for many years, and he's got plenty of motorsport history to back him up. As President of the Barbados Motoring Federation, he's in charge of motorsport and automobile clubs in the country. He's worked tirelessly to build up the infrastructure, organise the clubs and train up volunteers and officials.

Paul Gutjhar was originally scheduled to be the Chairman of the FIA Stewards for the Abu Dhabi weekend, but was replaced due to exceptional circumstances, by Silvia Bellot on the Friday, and Gerd Ennser for the remainder of the weekend.

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