This weekend sees the 22nd and final round of the 2021 Formula 1 season. Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow is currently third in the Constructors’ classification, 38.5 points ahead of McLaren. At the previous race, Charles Leclerc got ahead of Lando Norris in the fight for fifth in the Drivers’ standings, a battle that is set to continue as they are separated by just four points. As for Carlos Sainz, he is now only 4.5 behind Norris and 8.5 behind Charles, coming off the back of a run of 14 consecutive top ten finishes, an achievement beaten only by Max Verstappen. Scuderia Ferrari will be tackling the final race of the season with a smile on its face, but with its usual determination to get the best possible result. The 13th running of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place, as usual, at the Yas Marina circuit, although its layout has been given a radical makeover, aimed at making the racing more spectacular.
The track. Three sections of the track have been modified. At the end of the first sector, gone is the slow chicane at the end of the straight that led into the first hairpin. Instead, cars will be flat out down the straight to the hairpin, which has been widened and should present more overtaking opportunities. The second more substantial change comes at the adverse camber corner at the end of the second long straight. The left-right-left chicane sequence and the 90 degree left that followed have been replaced with a long 180 degree corner that is more open and flowing and slightly banked. This should offer more racing lines and greater overtaking chances. There are also some changes in the final part of the lap. Lap times should therefore be significantly quicker, partly down to opening the radius of the right angle corners in the third sector, an area where historically, track limits could be a problem.
Programme. The race starts at sunset and, as usual for races in the Middle East, the sessions take place from the afternoon onwards. The first free practice is on Friday at 13.30 local (10.30 CET) with the second starting at 17 (14 CET). On Saturday, the final hour to fine tune the cars begins at 14 (11 CET) prior to qualifying at 17 (14 CET). The 13th Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at 17 local (14 CET).
GP entered 1029
Seasons in F1 72
Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)
Wins 238 (23,13%)
Pole positions 230 (22,35%)
Fastest laps 254 (24,68%)
Total podiums 777 (25,17%)
Ferrari Stats Abu Dhabi GP
GP entered 12
Debut 2009 (K. Räikkönen 12°; G. Fisichella 16°)
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 3 (25%)
Total podiums 7 (19,44%)
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: facts & figures
3. Drivers in the United Arab Emirates’ most famous racing family, which goes by the name Al Qubaisi. The father, Khaled Abdul is a sports car specialist with 98 wins to his name in various categories. Both daughters, Amna and Hamda have followed in their father’s footsteps, as the first two women drivers from the country. Amna has raced in the Italian F4 series and in 2021, she raced in Formula 3 Asia, while Hamda is still in F4, in the German ADAC series as well as the Italian one.
4. The furthest back on the grid from which the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been won. Kimi Räikkönen, who races for the last time this weekend after a career spanning almost 20 years, did it in 2012 at the wheel of a Lotus. As for the furthest back on the grid from which a driver made it to the podium, that same year, Sebastian Vettel went from 24th to third in the Red Bull.
27. The average number of overtaking move in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It has not always been the most spectacular of races, but in 2012, spectators were treated to no fewer than 49 changes of position. Whereas, in 2009, for Yas Marina’s first appearance on the calendar, there were just four.
50. The number of years that the United Arab Emirates has been in existence, dating back to 2 December 1971. On that day, six emirates, Abu Dhabi, also the capital with around 1.5 million inhabitants, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain became one federation. They were joined in early 1972 by Ra’s al Khaimah. The country covers 83,600 square kilometres and has a population of just under ten million.
+1.000.000. The number of visitors to the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park in 2019. Opened in 2010, it is the first ever Ferrari park. There are over twenty attractions including Formula Rossa, the fastest rollercoaster in the world, which reaches a speed of 240 km/h in under 5 seconds. For its tenth anniversary celebrations, the park launched the Roof Walk and Zip Line experiences for those looking for adrenaline-fuelled adventure. It also opened a Family Zone, to entertain guests of all ages, featuring miniature versions of the most iconic park attractions. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has picked up many awards, including the prestigious World’s Leading Theme Park two years running in 2019 and 2020.
This week in our history
8/12. In 2004, a very special test took place at the Fiorano track. Getting behind the wheel of an F2004 was a driver who had not raced in Formula 1 for several decades. Carlos Reutemann raced for the Scuderia from the end of the 1976 season through to 1978, winning five Grands Prix and helping to win a Constructors’ title. The Argentinian, who always remained on good terms with Ferrari, had not been to Maranello for many years and on this occasion he got into the cockpit and completed 17 laps.
9/12. In 2015, Kimi Räikkönen put on a show at the wheel of a Ferrari FF at Finland’s Premier Park circuit, on the outskirts of Helsinki, as part of an event organised by Shell, a long-time partner of Scuderia Ferrari. The 2007 world champion met the fans and gave a few guests a ride around the ice track. On stepping out of the FF, one of them confessed, “what an unforgettable day! I have never experienced such a mix of terror and adrenalin. The most amazing thing was to see that Kimi was totally impassive at the wheel even though I occasionally let out some uncontrollable screams.” In short, the Kimi we know and love, who will be missed by everyone in Formula 1.
10/12. In 2010, Jacques Swaters passed away in Brussels. He was a racing driver, team manager, founder of Scuderia Francorchamps and the equally famous Garage Francorchamps and the first museum dedicated to Ferrari, the famous “Bunker” where, from the Seventies onwards he exhibited Maranello memorabilia and various Ferrari cars. His friendship and collaboration with Enzo Ferrari dated back to the Fifties and endured until the founder’s death. Swaters claims the distinction of having opened the first Ferrari dealership outside Italy. He was one of the few people who, during his lifetime, had a special colour dedicated to him by Ferrari, the Swaters Blue, available from 1992 on the Ferrari 456 GT, a car which was launched at the Garage Francorchamps, rather than the more usual motor show.
11/12. The Ferrari 290 MM that belonged to Juan Manuel Fangio was auctioned for a record 28 million dollars (25.8 million Euros). The car – chassis number 0626 – which was in the hands of collector Pierre Bardinon, had been nicknamed “The Indestructible” in the racing world, because it was never crashed during its eight years on track, not even when used in the most demanding races in the Americas. Apart from Fangio, it was also driven by 1961 Formula 1 World Champion Phil Hill and by stars such as Peter Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Eugenio Castellotti and Luigi Musso, before being entrusted to endurance race specialists such as Olivier Gendebien and Joakim Bonnier.
12/12. In 1954, Masten Gregory won the Nassau Trophy Race in the Bahamas. He did so in a privately entered Ferrari 375 MM with which he won three times that season. The American won many other races with cars from Maranello, the most important being the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours in a semi-works 250 LM entered by the North American Racing Team, which he shared with Jochen Rindt and Ed Hugus.