The grands prix in India and Abu Dhabi offer up interesting challenges for the drivers and engineers.
There’s no let up in the pace of this year’s F1 season, which has just completed back-to-back grands prix in India and Abu Dhabi.
The silver lining in India came from my younger brother Arthur who took part in the MRF Challenge, which was the support series to F1 over the weekend. I followed his progress in between briefings and was happy to see him secure pole and victory in the opening race.
As for everything else, here are some of the things you might have missed over the last couple of weeks…
The grands prix in India and Abu Dhabi offer up interesting challenges for the drivers and engineers. The Buddh International and Yas Marina circuits are both Hermann Tilke’s work but feature very different layouts, while the conditions in each country are also distinctive.
This has an impact on the car set-up between the two events. Personally, I like the Abu Dhabi track better, especially the final section, which I really enjoy. Racing under the setting sun is not a major problem either. It’s definitely a parameter you need to consider but the facilities and organisation are both really great, ensuring the event goes smoothly.
I am often asked which type of circuits I prefer: the old tracks or the modern, Tilke era examples. Well, I do like the newer grands prix but there’s no doubt that historic venues like Silverstone, Monza, Spa and Suzuka have that extra something special about them. Having said that, no matter what country I visit, I’m always warmly welcomed by the fans.
Electrifying downtown Dubai
Before reaching Abu Dhabi I stopped off in Dubai to shoot an advert with Mark Webber for Renault. We both end up behind the wheel of the company’s all-electric Twizy, following a truck fitted with cameras that was able to create a safe passage through.We were able to weave in and out of the streets in downtown Dubai, driving through squares and doing donuts on a beach!
We had a blast but almost ran into trouble, as an official did not realise we were filming the ad. But overall it was great fun and gave me an opportunity to chat with Mark away from the F1 paddock. Renault was also happy with the result.
Get well soon Fernando
I’d like to wish Fernando Alonso a speedy recovery after he suffered a big impact and compression during the race in Abu Dhabi. I heard he had to visit hospital post-race, so hopefully we’ll see him back fully fit again in Austin.
Speaking of Austin, I had a great time there last year. It’s a fantastic town and I was glad to see Formula 1 returning to the US after several years away. The atmosphere around the event was amazing. On top of that, I love the Circuit of the Americas. The track is really fast and I am looking forward to racing there again in a couple of weeks.
Entering the closing stages of the F1 season
Having returned from Abu Dhabi, I will be swinging by the Caterham factory on Friday to prepare for the US race with my engineers. I’ll spend some time in the simulator, not only to re-familiarise myself with the Austin circuit but also gear-up for the final F1 race of the 2013 season, which is held in Brazil just one week later. Then on Monday I’ll fly to Texas.
I’ll be sending you my final Big PICture of the season post-Brazil. Hopefully we’ll have something more to cheer about then.