The inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final round of the 2009 Formula One season, takes place this weekend at the new Yas Marina Circuit on the eastern side of Abu Dhabi.
The spectacular 5.554km track, designed by renowned Formula One architect Hermann Tilke, is located on Yas Island just thirty minutes from Abu Dhabi city. Running alongside Yas Island's new marina, the anti-clockwise circuit has many unique features including a pitlane exit which crosses under the circuit and part of the track passing under the Yas Marina Hotel.
Abu Dhabi will host Formula One's first twilight race with the lights going out in late daylight conditions at 17:00hrs on Sunday and the chequered flag falling in the evening around ninety minutes later. With Brawn GP and Jenson Button successfully securing the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships at the last race in Brazil, the team are now looking forward to putting on a great show in Abu Dhabi this weekend at the final race of the season.
ROSS BRAWN, TEAM PRINCIPAL
Q. After such an emotional weekend in Brazil, what are your thoughts ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?
"Brazil was a fantastic weekend and to have won the Constructors' and the Drivers' Championships with Brawn GP is a very special achievement. I am incredibly proud of the whole team at Brawn GP and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines. We've all had a few busy days since returning to the UK and it was great for both Jenson and I to get back to the factory and thank everyone in person for their contribution to our successes. At the same time, we have been looking ahead to the final race and ensuring that all our preparations are in place for Abu Dhabi which is an important weekend for the team as we look to secure second position in the Drivers' Championship with Rubens. The new Yas Marina Circuit looks extremely impressive and we're looking forward to getting out to Abu Dhabi and having our first look at the track. With the challenge of a new circuit, we are able to use data provided by the FIA to create a circuit map which can be used in our simulator at the factory. We went through this process for the new street circuits in Valencia and Singapore last year so it is a process that the team is familiar with. Knowing the circuit when they arrive helps the drivers to get into a rhythm quickly during the first practice sessions and allows us to check gear ratios and compare set-up items. We can also use the simulator to understand tyre behaviour. From this we get an understanding of the car balance and that allows us to determine our start set-up for the weekend."
Q. What are your thoughts on the new Yas Marina Circuit?
"It's a fantastic feeling to be going into the final race having achieved my ambition of winning the Drivers' Championship and with the team having wrapped up the Constructors' Championship in Brazil. We want to finish the season in style with a great result but we can be a little more relaxed in our approach to the weekend! I had a short break in the Gulf region after the Bahrain Grand Prix and went to have a look at the Yas Marina Circuit. Even back then, when the construction work was still underway, the facilities looked outstanding and the organisers have done a great job in creating a spectacular venue. It's always fun to try a new race track, particularly one which looks as unique as Yas Marina with the unusual pitlane exit and the day/night race. I'm sure Abu Dhabi is going to host an exciting weekend and a great finale to the 2009 Formula One season."
Q. Are you looking forward to racing on a new track in Abu Dhabi?
"It's always a good challenge to race at a new venue and the Yas Marina Circuit looks extremely impressive from the reports that I have seen. The layout of the circuit seems both fun and challenging and it will be interesting to start the race in daylight and to finish in evening conditions. Our track walk on Thursday will be important to get an initial feel for the characteristics of the circuit and we will spend the first few laps on Friday getting to grips with the layout. From then on, it will be business as usual with our standard practice programme. The team has had a great season so far and we want to finish on a high with a strong performance this weekend."
-credit: brawn gp