Well the bunting has been taken down and the champagne glasses have been tidied up. The Dark Lord has been packed off to his Ivory town with his cheap Chelsea scrubbers to keep him company. Mr Todt, the new president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile is easing his backside into the FIA SEAT OF POWER. The book of Vengeance has been opened and he’s deciding whether to ban McLaren or have Ari Vatanen boiled in oil first
Meanwhile, before the teams can start selling off their 2009 kit on eBay, they have one more race.
It’s Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marine Complex. Which I think is another Tilk effort around the docks in downtown Abu Dhabi City Yas Island. So it’s another sandy circuit with no history and no atmosphere. Probably.
The circuit is brand spanking new, and looks like Valencia and Singapore rolled into one. Lots of stupid noodley corners and long straights, there are a number of highlights with this place though;
Firstly it’s going to be run as the sun goes down. So it’ll start off in a golden sunset and finish in a floodlight night, which could present the drivers with a few problems.
Next, the pit exit. The pits are normal everyday pits, but once they exit the pit lane the road drops down through a tunnel under the main grandstand, and joins the circuit just after turn 1. Now, the tunnel exit is not part of the pit lane, so it’s run at full racing speed. There are no cranes in this tunnel so if someone (let’s say Nakajima or Buemi) get’s it all wrong on cold tires on a dusty road. They’re going to hit the wall hard and stop dead. Apparently there’s a set of doors for the marshals to clear said wreck, but how long is that going to take? I think the pit lane tunnel will play a part in this race.
Lastly, the circuit features the longest straight in F1 today, after a tight hairpin which is going to be just ripe for the KERS cars, short hand for Hamilton, to go bombing past everyone else. Maybe.
So it’s a tight and twisty with lots of heavy breaking, then a full on warp speed straight before a bit more tight twisty stuff.
It’s generally accepted that Redbull have had the fastest and best car of the season, it’s just been Vettel making too many mistakes and Webber either hitting someone or being unlucky as ever. So they are going to want to go out and prove they are the best.
Whilst Brawn have had the reliability from the off and two drivers that are as safes as houses. Okay, Barrichello got a bit feisty at times and had problems getting off the line and driving fast when it mattered. But he can go fast round a street circuit. (Valencia for instance). Whilst Button is no longer chasing the main prize and wants to prove that he is a worthy world champion. Both will want to finish well here.
Down the pit lane and McLaren have turned around a rubbish season and could do with a win to keep the momentum going. Hamilton is talking up his chances here, mainly because he believes the KERS unit is going to give him the edge. He was super fast in Singapore and I can’t see a reason why he won’t be fast here. With Kovalainen off to pastures new at the end of the year, he needs a good result to keep his stock high. McLaren also want to beat.
Ferrari, who have had a season to forget, but still want to come 3rd in the constructor’s championship, they want to beat McLaren and Kimi wants to leave Ferrari on a high. He still hasn’t done a deal with anyone yet, but the rumours are he’s asking way too much for his services, especially after the last two seasons.
So Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Button Barrichello and Kimi are all contenders here. Each has something to prove and each wants to build the momentum for next year. Barrichello and Kimi are off to new teams and the rest have to demonstrate why they should be No.1 team mate.
New circuits also give the new boys a chance to show up. It’s a level playing field as no one has driven on the circuit before, there’s no team data to help set the car up. So a midfield chap could hit the sweat spot and have a weekend to remember. Old hands like Alonso and Barrichello can tune cars in to circuits with their eyes closed. Could Renault put the season from hell behind them?
At the time of writing, Toyota is still uming and arriing about Glock being given his seat back. It’s all rather messy over there at the moment. Trulli, having got slapped with the FIA “random act of vengeance hammer” for shouting at Sutil on live TV in Brazil, is being told by the Boss of Toyota Cars that he’s fantastic and will be staying forever. Whilst the team boss is telling him to sling his hook. No one seems to know if they’re going to be racing next year anyway. Stay tuned for more news.
I’ve also been asked to relay a message: This Sunday is the London to Brighton classic car run, with all the cars lined up on Regent streets on Saturday the 31st. if you like old duffers in tweed jackets and silly hats, fiddling around with bits of copper piping and magnetos and snaffle flange pins, then Brighton is the place to be (on Sunday)