The Formula 1 paddock has reconvened for the final time in 2015 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, which hosts the last round of the season for the fourth time in its history.
The championships have all been decided but there is still a Grand Prix victory to fight for, as well as positions further down the standings.
The Yas Marina Circuit is not one of the most popular on the calendar but the off camber corners and technical final sector provides a challenge for the drivers, along with the unusual change in track temperature due to the twilight nature of the event.
The circuit, designed by Herman Tilke, was constructed on the man-made Yas Island, located a 30 minutes’ drive away from the centre of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
The circuit features two long straights, linked by a chicane, a medium/high speed first sector and twisty final sector, during which the drivers pass a marina and negotiate their way underneath the imposing Yas Viceroy Hotel.
“The Yas Marina really is a stunning place to hold the season-ending Grand Prix,” says World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who secured his 2014 crown at the venue.
“The organisers clearly spent a lot of time and effort on designing the most spectacular venue imaginable and the track is one I really enjoy driving. It's actually a really challenging circuit.
“There are a couple of high speed corners but it's mostly medium to low speed, so despite the long straights you need to set the car up with a downforce level tuned for low speed grip. It's also a twilight race, starting late afternoon and running into the night, which is quite unusual and I imagine must be pretty cool to watch on TV.”
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have shared five of the six victories in Abu Dhabi, with the former triumphant during the inaugural race in 2009, before going on to secure his first world title in 2010.
Vettel also emerged on top during his successful streak in 2013, while Hamilton was victorious in 2011 and 2014, the latter securing him his long-awaited second title.
Kimi Räikkönen has also won the race, having prevailed over Fernando Alonso during an entertaining 2012 encounter, infamous for the Finn’s radio messages to his Lotus outfit.
The weekend also marks the final event of the partnership between Lotus and Romain Grosjean, with the Frenchman’s time at Enstone dating back to 2006, when he acted as a Renault development driver.
Pirelli will bring the two softest compounds from its tyre range, the red-ringed Super Soft and yellow-banded Soft tyres, and expects drivers to run a two-stop strategy.
The two DRS zones will be located along the two back straights – each with its own detection point – while Derek Warwick will act as the FIA’s driver steward.
Timetable (GMT +4):
Friday 13 November
- Practice One: 13:00 – 14:30
- Practice Two: 17:00 – 18:30
Saturday 14 November
- Practice Three: 14:00 – 15:00
- Qualifying: 19:00 (60 minutes)
Sunday 15 November
- Race: 19:00 (55 laps or two hours)