Section: Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi)

F1: Test ‘not good enough’ but McLaren learns from issues

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier admits his team’s struggle to get its new Honda power unit up and running in Abu Dhabi was “not good enough”, but said there were some positives to draw from the two day test.

Over 18 hours of track time, McLaren successfully completed three laps and came up short on two more due to on-track issues. The team’s main problems were electrical and on its final attempt on Wednesday afternoon the car came to halt on the first lap of a four-lap run.

“It was still an electrical issue,” Boullier said. “We fixed a couple of them overnight and today and on the first installation lap the car ran quite well and with no problem at all. When hitting the track again on a longer run the car just blacked out completely.

“It happens to some different cars this year and sometimes nobody know why, so we had this problem. We just brought the car back and after investigating for 20 minutes we couldn’t wake the car up again, so we just said ‘stop’. The car will now be sent back to Woking for a full investigation.”

Boullier admitted McLaren’s two day test has not met expectations, but said it was better to get the issues out of the way this week instead of encountering them at the first test of 2015 in Jerez.

“It’s obviously not what we wanted to achieve. Our target was to run the car on track, to run all the systems, and we were not expecting here to develop anything other than trying all the systems. We didn’t achieve this, so we failed on this.

“Yes, it’s a still a bonus because going into such a test in Jerez and having the same problems would hurt us much more. At least both Honda and McLaren have worked very hard to make this hybrid car and come here. Operationally we went through a lot and when we were not running, we were dismantling the car in multiple parts and at least we learned a lot about processes and what could be wrong in the future.

“Yes, it’s not good enough and we are not happy with that, but at least we learned things which are important to be prepared for the next one.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Hamilton secures second title with Abu Dhabi victory

Lewis Hamilton finally fulfilled his six-year dream of a second world title by winning the 2014 championship with victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rival Nico Rosberg saw his hopes slip away with car trouble that eventually dropped him to 14th and out of contention. Hamilton has been waiting for a second world title since he won in dramatic fashion in 2008, but managed to settle his nerves early in the race on Sunday by taking advantage of Rosberg’s poor start and assuming the lead into Turn 1. A problem with Rosberg’s Energy Recovery System (ERS) started to emerge around lap 23, reducing power as well as causing problems under braking. He managed to finish the race, but his hopes of a world title will have to wait at least another year at least. The issue saw Rosberg haemorrhage positions throughout the second half of the race as he tried but failed to hang on to a fifth-place finish – his only chance of taking the title if Hamilton retired. Hamilton reacted by turning down his power settings and nursing his car home, which allowed Felipe Massa in second to close in during the final stint of the race and finish just 2.5s off the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas took the final place on the podium to round off a resurgent season for Williams and ensure it took third place in the constructors’ championship. Rosberg’s dream started to fade as soon as the lights went out at the start and Hamilton bolted past him to comfortably take the lead into the first corner. He ran a close second to his team-mate for the first half of the race, but a mistake under braking for Turn 17 was the first sign that something had gone awry. Two laps later his team informed him of his ERS issue, which not only reduced power by roughly 160bhp but also made the car unpredictable under braking. By lap 27 he had lost second place to Massa and continued to drop down the order until the chequered flag. Mercedes attempted to retire his car, but Rosberg said he wanted to remain on track until the very end of the race. It hardly seemed like a fitting end to the year-long battle between the two Mercedes drivers, but Hamilton’s 11th victory in 19 races leaves little doubt that 2014 has a very deserving champion. Outside the top three, Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a hugely impressive race from a pit lane start to fourth place at the finish. Both Red Bulls had to start from the pits after qualifying with an illegal front wing, but Ricciardo made up for Saturday’s disappointment in style. McLaren’s Jenson Button took fifth in what may be his final race in Formula One ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who, like Ricciardo, used an alternative strategy to finish sixth for Force India ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. Summing up his final season for Red Bull before moving to Ferrari, ex-champion Sebastian Vettel could not match team-mate Ricciardo and finished eighth behind Perez. Fernando Alonso took ninth in his final race for Ferrari after his pace dropped off towards the end of the race. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished two seconds off Alonso to take the final point on offer and wave goodbye to a forgettable year with Ferrari. But Hamilton was the star on Sunday night as he held on to achieve his stated aim of securing the title with victory under the lights in Abu Dhabi. As the post-race fireworks made way for the British national anthem on the podium, he was clearly holding back tears of emotion in front of a pit lane packed with his team and supporters below. Read more at ESPN

F1: Abu Dhabi: Red Bull excluded from qualifying for illegal front wing

Both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have been excluded from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the stewards declared Red Bull’s front wing illegal.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported the team to the stewards when he discovered that the front wing flaps had been designed to flex under aerodynamic load. After meeting with Red Bull representatives, the stewards agreed that the flaps were in breach of Article 3.15, which bans moveable aerodynamics designed to give an advantage.

The Red Bulls will be allowed to start from the back of the grid. The team accepted its punishment but believes it has been singled out.

“Following the decision of the stewards regarding the front wings on both our cars (Car 1 and Car 3), we are disappointed that we have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in a similar fashion, ” read a short statement. “The team accepts the decision of the stewards and will start the race from the back of the grid.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rosberg was 0.386 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate as Hamilton managed to secure second place despite an error-strewn session.

Hamilton is 17 points ahead of Rosberg and needs only to finish second to the German in the race to secure the title.

The Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were third and fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi final practice

Nico Rosberg wrested back the psychological advantage at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with fastest time in final practice.

Rosberg beat Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.369 seconds after losing out in both sessions on Friday.

Hamilton made mistakes in the final sector, where he had been strongest on Friday, on both his fastest laps.

Hamilton needs to finish second even if Rosberg wins to clinch his the title.

A lap Hamilton was on at the end of the session, which he did not complete because he was out of time, suggested that Hamilton could have matched Rosberg’s pace had he managed to put a good lap together.

But Rosberg will head into qualifying boosted by the knowledge that he was faster than Hamilton on both the super-soft tyres on which the grid positions will be decided and the soft tyres on which most of the race will be run.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Abu Dhabi: Lewis Hamilton ‘like a kid at Christmas’

Lewis Hamilton says he feels like a “kid at Christmas” as he builds up to Sunday’s championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was fastest in both sessions on Friday, narrowly ahead of team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg.

“I love driving this track but the car is the best I have ever driven here. It is spectacular to drive,” he said.

“When you know you have a package as competitive as ours, it’s like being a kid at Christmas.”

Hamilton beat Rosberg by 0.133 seconds in the first session and 0.083secs in the second after the two men traded fastest laps throughout.

He is 17 points ahead of Rosberg and needs only to finish second to be sure of the title, even if the German wins.

“It is very close between us and I am just working to chip away at it,” Hamilton said. “I just have to drive the way I usually drive and what will be will be.

“I will do the best I can and so far I am doing the right steps and I will keep working away at it.

“It’s just been nice to get in the car. I’ve just been excited to get in the car. It’s good to know I am fighting for something this weekend, that’s a great feeling.

“I feel good. I feel good in the car but there is undoubtedly more time to find and I have to go and chip away at it tonight.

“There is still time to find I need to study hard tonight to find it and make sure I attack on Saturday.”

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Hamilton quickest again in FP2

Lewis Hamilton maintained a small advantage over title rival Nico Rosberg in the second practice session as the pressure builds ahead of this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton beat his Mercedes team-mate to the fastest time by just 0.083s as the two look set for a tight head-to-head battle under the floodlights at Yas Marina. Rosberg closed the gap compared to the first practice session, but his best chance of winning the title requires him to win the race with Hamilton finishing third or lower.

Kevin Magnussen was third fastest in the McLaren and 0.782s off the two Mercedes as the rest of the pack closed in on the championship contenders from the 1.7s gap in FP1. Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest as he takes part in his final grand prix weekend with Red Bull before moving to Ferrari next year.

Williams completed its repair job on Valtteri Bottas’s Williams after part of the engine cover came off due to an issue with the way the car’s cooling configuration had been set up. A more conservative configuration was used during the second session and Bottas finished fifth with 33 laps in total.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth ahead of the highest-placed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari stopped on just its third lap out of the pits with what appeared to be an engine issue.

Jenson Button was eighth fastest in the McLaren but lost out on mileage in both practice sessions with reliability issues. In the first session a suspension problem limited his running and although the team managed to fix it for FP2 they then discovered a hydraulics issue on the McLaren, meaning he completed just 22 laps – 14 less than team-mate Magnussen.

Daniil Kvyat and the second Williams of Felipe Massa rounded off the top ten ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Lotus’ Pasto Maldonado. After problems in his first practice session, Caterham debutant Will Stevens completed 33 laps and managed to close 1.6s of his team-mate Kamui Kobayashi.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Hamilton beats Rosberg to fastest time in first practice

Lewis Hamilton got his hunt for a second title off to a positive start during the first practice session for this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton held a 0.133s advantage over Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg, who he leads by 17 points in the drivers’ standings. A first or second place finish will secure the title for Hamilton, and with Mercedes 1.7s clear of the rest of the field he should be confident of his chances even if Rosberg picks up the pace over the rest of the weekend.

Williams are expected to be Mercedes’ closest rivals, but Valtteri Bottas hit trouble 27 minutes into the session when part of his engine cover came off the car. The large chunk of debris flew off the car on the back straight, forcing Bottas to return to the pits with just eight laps to his name and the eighth fastest time. Team-mate Felipe Massa was down in 13th position with only seven laps after he returned to the pits not long after Bottas with an issue with his car.

Fernando Alonso was third fastest as he got his final weekend with Ferrari underway, just over 0.1s quicker than the man who will replace him Sebastian Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo was 0.03s off his Red Bull team-mate in fifth place ahead of the two junior Red Bull drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rossos.

Such was the gap between the Mercedes and the rest of the field, Jenson Button found time to tweet about it as he waited for a problem to be sorted on his car in the garage.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Caterham hands Stevens debut in Abu Dhabi

Caterham has confirmed Will Stevens will race alongside Kamui Kobayashi as the team makes its return at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Caterham entered administration last month but has raised enough funds via a crowd-sourcing website to arrive in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Its participation should help protect its entry for 2015, which is its most valuable asset, as the administrators look for a buyer to take on the team.

Stevens tested the Caterham at the Silverstone test after the British Grand Prix this year and was lined up to drive a Marussia in Japan before problems with his getting his superlicence on time. However, Caterham confirmed on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s race that Stevens was ready and able to race in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be getting this opportunity and am very grateful to everyone involved at Caterham F1 Team for giving it to me,” Stevens said. “I feel ready for the challenge of my F1 debut and look forward to working as part of the Team in a race environment after all the work we’ve done together previously in the tests I’ve completed and back at Leafield in the sim. Hopefully this will be something we will be able to carry through to the 2015 season together”.

Gianluca Pisanello, Caterham F1 Team head of engineering operations added: “We know Will very well through his involvement in the Caterham Racing Academy and more importantly he has done a vast amount of time in our simulator, completing around 10,000km, which has built his experience both of this year’s car and with the engineering team that are going to Abu Dhabi. In addition, his 2014 test at Silverstone in our current car, where he completed over 500kms, was very successful and his race pace was very good. As a result, he was one of our best candidates for this race weekend and we are delighted to have secured his services for our return to the F1 grid. We in fact signed Will last week but have had to wait for confirmation of his Super licence before making our announcement.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Abu Dhabi: Marussia fail in late bid to make season’s final grand prix

A late bid to get Marussia to the final grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi this weekend has failed.

A fortnight ago administrators said the Banbury-based team had ceased trading with the loss of 200 jobs.

Talks have been ongoing with potential investors in the hope Marussia could take their place on the grid at the Yas Marina circuit.

But negotiations have broken down and it is now too late for them to take part in the event.

Marussia driver Max Chilton tweeted:  “Devastated for everyone involved at Marussia in the past 24 hours that the hard work trying to get to Abu Dhabi didn’t work out as we hoped.”


Caterham, who went into administration in October, are back racing after raising £1.8m from crowd-funding.

Read more at BBC Sport