Logo Content

    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Seb and Charles ready to tackle Abu Dhabi

    Abu Dhabi 10 dicembre 2020

    Entering the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality area, it’s clear from the fir tree decorated with lights that the year is coming to a close, the season running on much later than usual. The team personnel are getting the cars ready for tomorrow’s free practice, while Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel got into the swing of things with their first engineering meetings, the track assessment, tackling the 5.554 kilometre Yas Marina track by bicycle and a chat with the journalists in the FIA press conference.

    Special weekend. For Sebastian Vettel, this is a rather special weekend. After six seasons, he is leaving the Scuderia. During that time he took part in 117 races, make that 118 by this Sunday, during which he became the third most successful driver in the team’s history, on 14 wins, behind the untouchable Michael Schumacher (72 wins) and just one off Niki Lauda’s tally of 15. “I want to say goodbye with a good performance, even if it won't be easy. I’d like to do it for all the guys in the team who this season have dealt with an exhausting schedule to make sure we can race.” Seb has a special celebratory helmet this weekend, dedicated to Ferrari, to his fans and to Italy. Inevitably he was asked what were his best moments with the team. “Wins, there were a good few of those, even if not as many as I’d have liked,” said Seb. “For sure, I treasure the first one, in Malaysia in 2015 and then Monaco in 2017, after the team had not won there for 16 years. I would also add Canada 2018, a win in a significant season, which did not go the way we had hoped for but in which we were very competitive.”

    A year of progress. For this race, Charles has decided to dedicate his helmet design to his team-mate. He was asked to sum up his own season. “I’ve already said how important this year has been for me. I think I have made progress in all areas and I believe I will benefit from the experience gained in this difficult 2020,” he maintained. Leclerc will have a three place grid penalty on Sunday. “In the end, it is what it is and this year, I have made up a lot of places at the start and in the opening laps. But sometimes, being that aggressive can go too far, as was the case in Austria and also in Sakhir with Sergio and Max.”

    Fatigue. Leclerc was also asked if he felt tired after such a condensed season, with 17 races in just 23 weeks. “I think it’s not us you should be asking, but the members of the team,” reckoned Charles. “By Monday I’m ready to get back in the car, but they arrive many days before us, sometimes even a whole week, and leave also later than us, after they’ve packed everything away. I think when it comes to defining how busy the season should be, you first have to consider the mechanics and the team logistics people.”

    Programme. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend gets underway tomorrow with free practice at 13 local (10 CET) and 17 (14 CET). On Saturday the final practice is at 13 local (10 CET) with the grid decider at 17 (14 CET). The race gets underway on Sunday 13 December at 17.10 Abu Dhabi time (14.10 CET).