Abu Dhabi GP: Preview – Racing Point

by Dec 10, 20200 comments

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Final race of the year – how are you feeling ahead of the weekend?
Lance Stroll: “We come here after a fantastic team result so there’s definitely some good energy in the team right now. We’ve just got to stay focussed this weekend and deliver another strong result. Whatever happens, we’ve been on an incredible journey this year with 17 races squeezed into six months. It’s been my best season in Formula 1 to date, but there’s been some frustrating moments too. It would be good to sign off the year on a positive note.”

Does it help returning to a more familiar circuit after the challenge of Bahrain‘s Outer Track?
LS: “It’s always good to race somewhere where you’ve got plenty of experience already, but I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of racing at new circuits! We also saw how closely matched the grid was last weekend and that made things really exciting for everybody. Abu Dhabi is very familiar to all of us and it’s a very different challenge. It’s one of those circuits where it’s not so easy to overtake – certainly compared to Bahrain – so there’s greater emphasis on qualifying and track position.”

We go into this race fighting for P3 in the Constructors’, what’s been your take on the battle?
LS: “It’s been really tense and close all year and we’re all going to fight hard to retain P3 in the Constructors. We’ve been able to fight for podiums this year and earned some great results, so to take P3 would be a nice reward to the entire team – those at the factory and the trackside crew. I’m excited to get going and have a good weekend.”

Sergio Perez – Grand Prix winner – how does that sound?
Sergio Perez: “It’s taken a few days to fully realise what we achieved together last weekend. It’s a result I have been working towards for 10 years and it was a very emotional day for me, my family, the team, and everybody who has supported me on my journey. We came close a few times in the past, and sometimes you need a bit of luck, but I think we really deserved to win that race given everything that has happened this year.”

How much are you looking forward to driving the RP20 in Abu Dhabi?
SP: “A lot: I really enjoy going there and it’s a great place to finish the season. I’m really looking forward to it. You need strong stability across a lap there and plenty of power on the straights to really maximise a lap. It’s a good challenge.”

The midfield battle is very close going into the final race. Have you enjoyed that challenge this year?
SP: “It’s been a great challenge, especially with P3 being on the line at the end of the season. It’s been close throughout the year and every point matters, which makes it exciting for fans back home too. I really hope we can secure P3 in the Constructors’ Championship. It’s what the team deserves for creating a good car and performing well this year.”

This is your last race with the team. How do you reflect on your time here?
SP: “I have wonderful memories with the team. From scoring a podium in just our third race together and then winning a race last Sunday. We’ve now celebrated seven podiums together and they were all special days where we came together as a team and often against the odds. I wish the team all the best in the future and I’m really motivated to sign off in style this weekend.”

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark a very rare outing for the C5 tyre. This is the softest compound and it hasn’t been used since the Russian Grand Prix, the only other race to feature the C5 in 2020.

After a double-header on the roughest track surface of the year in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi is a very different proposition, featuring average levels of wear.

Looking at a track map of the Yas Marina Circuit, you’d be forgiven for looking at two very long straights and a few high-speed corners and believing it’s all about top speed. But in reality, the focus is on maximising the lower speed corners for a fast lap.

Despite two long straights, overtaking is a difficult prospect at the Yas Marina Circuit – compounded by the chicanes that are also very demanding on the suspension. Being able to cope with the kerbs is a key consideration for the engineers.

While most races in the 2020 calendar have taken place later than usual in the year, Abu Dhabi takes place at a more conventional time. This means the team will be accustomed to the twilight race effect this year.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Yas Island, here.



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