After a huge season, we reach the end of the long F1 road for another year but, as the team prepares to get hot and dusty one last time in the desert, there’s no cooling off in Abu Dhabi.
Yas Marina’s right-angle corners and high speeds can spark moments of brilliance under the cover of night. We can almost taste the rosewater already, as we call it a day on the 2018 season.
Pierre Gasly (Car 10): “It will be a special weekend, my last one racing with Toro Rosso, so Sunday will be emotional as we tackle our last race together. But I think that once you have been part of this team, you are always a member of the Toro Rosso family.”
“I’ve really appreciated our time together and I hope we can end on a high note in Abu Dhabi. I plan to give it my very best shot, especially as it’s on a track that I really like.
“I’ve always gone well here, with two poles and a win in GP2 and it was at this track that I clinched the GP2 championship title. So I like the track and it’s always a special feeling when you are racing in the dark.”
“Also, the fact that it’s the last race of the year means there’s a great mood in the paddock, everyone’s a bit excited and buzzing. It’s a really great atmosphere and once it’s over you realise the season has ended. As for the track itself, it provides some challenges, especially in the final sector, which is very technical with many changes of direction where you need to get into a good rhythm.”
So the circuit has two distinct characters, with the first two sectors featuring long straights and high speed long turns. But it’s that final technical part I like best and it’s where a driver can make a difference. I hope the weekend will be good for us, it would be a great way to say bye bye to everyone.”
Brendon Hartley: “It’s the last race of the season and I’m approaching it in a positive frame of mind. I have had a strong end to the season, performing well in the last few races, even when the car wasn’t quick enough to score big points. I’m happy with my relative performance and my improvement throughout the season.”
“So I’m looking forward to having a good weekend and finishing the year on a high. Abu Dhabi is an interesting track, with a street circuit feel to it, especially in the final part, where the track goes under the hotel. It’s very flat with not a lot of camber or undulation and overtaking can be tricky.”
“Tyre management is critical here, even in Qualifying when it’s very hard to keep the rears under control in the final sector. We struggled with that in Brazil and we need to work on understanding why. However, with the latest spec Honda PU, we can be confident that a good Qualifying is possible.”
Technical Director, Honda F1: “It’s time for the 21st and final race of our first season in partnership with Toro Rosso. Working with this team, we have learned a lot throughout the year and we hope to put that experience to good use in the final Grand Prix of the year.”
“As for the Yas Marina circuit its key features are a very long 1.2 kilometre long straight, and the fact it runs from early evening into the night. Overtaking is never simple here. We had a good result in Bahrain at the second race of the season and it would be nice to end with another one back here in the Middle East.”