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    End of the season in Abu Dhabi

    It will soon be time for the fireworks to light up the night at the end of the 58 laps of this coming Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, thus bringing the curtain down on the 2023 season, apart from a final test session at the Yas Marina track to follow on Tuesday 28 November.

    Maranello 22 novembre 2023

    It will soon be time for the fireworks to light up the night at the end of the 58 laps of this coming Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, thus bringing the curtain down on the 2023 season, apart from a final test session at the Yas Marina track to follow on Tuesday 28 November. It’s an important finale for Ferrari as up for grabs is the abstract, yet still important matter of second place in the Constructors’ World Championship, the gap to Mercedes now down to just four points. While the Drivers’ title has also been decided, Carlos is currently equal on points with fellow countryman Fernando Alonso, although the Ferrari man is ahead in the standings by virtue of his Singapore win and Charles is currently seventh.

    Three drivers. For the second time this season, the Scuderia will have three drivers on track. Apart from the two race drivers, the team’s reserve driver Robert Shwartzman will drive Charles Leclerc’s SF-23 in the first free practice session. Earlier this year, in the Dutch Grand Prix, he replaced Carlos Sainz. The 24 year old will also be at the wheel of a Ferrari during Tuesday’s end of season test, when Carlos and Charles will share the second car.

    Hard to overtake. The Yas Marina track layout was revised to make it faster and more spectacular as from 2021, although overtaking is still very difficult and it remains a high downforce track. The two best passing opportunities are in the second sector: the first being after turn 5 at the end of the 1.2 kilometre-long straight where DRS can be opened; however, drivers must then ensure they get their braking right for turn 6 as it is followed by another straight where the moveable rear wing can be used, although an immediate counter attack is always on the cards. The third sector is very technical and twisty and can be important in qualifying as it’s essential to ensure the tyres still have enough life in them to provide good traction. 

    Sunset. As always, the race gets underway as the sun sets directly into the drivers’ eyes, but when it comes to choosing the tint of visor, one has to take into account that most of the race is run at night under floodlights. The second free practice session carries more weight as it takes place when track conditions are the same as those encountered in qualifying and the race, thus allowing teams to get an understanding on how best to manage the tyres in both qualifying and race trim. The many high speed corners put a lot of stress on the tyres, which is why last year, a two-stop strategy proved the most effective. History tells us that Safety Cars and a red flag can often upset the applecart, so the teams have to prepare for as many situations as possible.


    Friday 24 November
    13.30 (10.30 CET) Free practice 1
    17.00 (14 CET) Free practice 2

    Saturday 25 November
    14.30 (11.30 CET) Free practice 3
    18.00 (15 CET) Qualifying

    Sunday 26 November
    17.00 (14 CET) Race

    The end of the season is upon us and it’s time for everyone to put in one last effort before a well-deserved break. We worked very well in Las Vegas, keeping focused even when faced with some rather unusual situations. We must do the same in Abu Dhabi after having closed right up to Mercedes in the battle for second place in the Constructors’ championship. We have a good understanding of our car and we know it won’t be as competitive in Abu Dhabi as it was in Las Vegas, conscious that there’s not much to choose between the teams currently lying second, third and fourth in the standings. The slightest detail can make the difference and every point counts, so we will try to ensure we have the upper hand and will do our utmost to achieve that!

    Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

    Ferrari Stats

    GP contested 1073
    Seasons in F1 74
    Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)
    Wins 243 (22.65%)
    Pole positions 248 (23,13%)
    Fastest race laps 259 (24.14%)
    Total podiums 806 (25.04%)

    Ferrari Stats Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    GP contested 14
    Debut 2009 (K. Räikkönen 12th; G. Fisichella 16th)
    Wins 0
    Pole positions 0
    Fastest race laps 3 (21.42%)
    Total podiums 9 (21.42%)

    Three questions to...


    1. Describe the characteristics of the Abu Dhabi track.
    It’s a night race which, apart from looking spectacular, brings many challenges for the team. In terms of tyre management and strategy, the big change in ambient and track temperatures from the hot afternoon free practice 1 and 3 sessions to the cooler night time free practice 2, qualifying and race mean that the drivers must adjust their approach to controlling the tyre temperature accordingly. There are a range of low, medium and high speed corners starting with the high speed sector 1 where, even over one lap in qualifying, you need to control the sliding of the tyres to prevent overheating early in the lap. The second sector is characterised by the two long DRS straights where you see the majority of overtakes in the race. The final third sector around the marina and the iconic hotel demands precision from the driver while he controls the oversteer and low grip from the rear tyres that can overheat by the time they get to this sector.

    2. After a few Sprint events and a completely new track we go back to a well-known circuit and a traditional weekend format. As a driver coach how do you tackle the weekend with Carlos and how important is the data from the previous edition of the race?
    We will approach the weekend drawing on everything learned from the previous years’ running in Abu Dhabi, as well as from the simulator preparation that we have done in the weeks leading up to the event. With Carlos, across Wednesday and Thursday, we will go through all the information that he needs, including tyre management, energy usage, track characteristics, strategy, and more. Part of this time will be used to talk about his driving approach to the lap in detail, using valuable past data and onboard video to specify the correct approach corner by corner and highlighting any tricks that we have found to work. In this way we will start FP1 with a good foundation on which to optimise his driving and tune the car setup, with the aim of being as ready as possible for qualifying and the race.

    3. What about you? How did you come to work for Ferrari and what’s it like being part of this team?
    I joined Ferrari in 2016 after graduating with an MSc in Advanced Motorsport Engineering at Cranfield University, having already completed my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering with Aerodynamics at the University of Glasgow. I began my career with six months as part of the Ferrari Engineering Academy graduate programme in the role of Simulator Performance Engineer. I was immediately involved in real projects with highly experienced colleagues, contributing to the development of the Formula 1 car, gaining hands-on experience with state-of-the-art facilities such as the driver-in-the-loop simulator. I can’t overstate how valuable my six months within the academy were in setting the foundations for my career at Ferrari. Being part of the trackside team on the front line of the racing experience and directly contributing to the team’s performance is very rewarding. The working environment is fast-paced and competitive and is my favourite aspect of the role. As the only Scottish engineer in the team, cultural differences add a unique flavour to daily life, but the shared passion for engineering excellence and desire to win creates a strong sense of camaraderie within the team. I’ve been part of the team for seven years now and it has been a unique and rewarding experience to contribute to the legacy of the Ferrari Formula 1 team.

    Calum MacDonald
    Nationality: British
    Born: 19/11/91
    In: Glasgow (Scotland, United Kingdom)

    Click on the link below fo hi-res pics of Calum MacDonald

    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: facts & figures

    4.8. The number of seconds taken by Formula Rossa, the rollercoaster at Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World, to reach its maximum speed of 239 km/h. That makes it even quicker than a Formula 1 car that, in the same length of time, can “only” reach 200 km/h.

    12. The number of laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix led by a Ferrari car, split between three for Fernando Alonso in the inauspicious 2010 race, eight for Sebastian Vettel in 2016 and one for Charles Leclerc in the 2022 race. This race therefore has not been a happy hunting ground for the Maranello team and in fact Yas Marina is the most raced on track at which the Scuderia has never won.
    50. The number of wadis in the United Arab Emirates. It is one of 20 countries in the world where there are no rivers – eight are in Asia, five in Oceania, three in Europe and two in Africa – but annually, for a very short time, temporary waterways appear, known as wadis, which contribute to the few oases present in the Middle East.. 

    70. The different nationalities of the falconers who attend the triennial Festival of Falconry in Abu Dhabi, the most important event of its kind. It usually takes place in a large open space known as the Desert Camp. Falconry is such a major sport in Abu Dhabi that it is home to the biggest veterinary hospital given over to treating these birds at the rate of around 11,000 per year.

    123. The number of Guinness World Records set in the two year period from 2022 to 2023 in the United Arab Emirates, bringing the total number of records set in the country to almost 200. The UAE is so enamoured of record breaking that the international organisation that ratifies them has even opened an office here. The most recent record to be set was in the hills of Hajar in the town of Hatta. The name of the town is proudly displayed on the mountain, making it the highest sign in the world. Each letter is 19.28 metres tall, taller even than the famous Hollywood sign which is 13.71 metres high. In case you fancy visiting, you can do so for free, but be warned access is only by foot.