Podcast number 471
Final race of the 2010 Formula 1 season and WDC.
Will Sebastian Vettel turn out to be Mr. Nice guy?
Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed.
Robert Kubica: The Abu Dhabi track has an amazing appearance and it comes across very well on television. The hotel that is lit up in different colours looks spectacular and you can tell that a lot of money has been invested in this facility. When I walked the track for the first time last year, I thought it would offer a lot of overtaking opportunities, but actually there was a lot less action in the race than I expected.
Having lots of wide run-off areas definitely doesn’t help overtaking because it’s much easier to defend your position. You know that even if you miss your braking point, you won’t lose anything because you can cut the corner and stay ahead. Of course, you cannot do it every lap, but if there was a wall or a gravel trap instead, it might give the driver behind a better chance to overtake. But it can also work the other way, too, because the guy who is attacking can risk much more in the braking zones knowing that he has an escape path if the manœuvre doesn’t work out.
One of the things I find annoying about this track is the number of off-camber corners, such as turns 16 and 17. In these corners it’s very easy to get on the power and then lose traction and slide with the rear of the car, which can cost you a lot of time. So it’s a very tricky track.
The race starts in the early evening, so you have to change your visor strip to be ready for racing at dusk. The other issue I remember from last year was that we had all three practice sessions in daylight and then both qualifying and the race took place at dusk. That made it hard because the temperatures dropped and the track conditions were completely different, which had a big impact on car balance. But now we have the experience from last year and we know to make set-up changes to prepare for running in the evening.
Although Abu Dhabi is the final race of the year, it doesn’t mean we’re all going on holiday as soon as it’s over. A few days after the race all the teams will remain in Abu Dhabi for the first test on the new Pirelli tyres as we begin our preparations for 2011.
It is time to say goodbye, but not before one final round. And there are still many things to unravel, starting with the Teams’ Title. The ongoing fight between Rapax, Barwa Addax Team and ART Grand Prix is far from over: Pastor Maldonado was declared our new Champion in Monza, but he is still set to keep pushing hard in Abu Dhabi to help his Italian team grab their first ever GP2 crown. Still, the Addax and ART pair have no intention of letting it go easily. Things get all the more raging and complicated with Sergio Perez, Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird still in the run for Second and Third places in the Drivers’ Standings fight… and with Giedo van der Garde not too far away from Third place himself. Although Perez, bolstered by his secured 2011 Formula One seat at Sauber, could be hard to beat in the Middle East, at ART Bird will be looking to capitalise on his first GP2 win in Monza, and Bianchi will no doubt be on the hunt for not only his fourth pole position of the season, but also his first longawaited win. All in all, the last round of the 2010 GP2 Series season is
set to be epic! And as goodbyes go, it will be the last time that the GP2/08 car will be racing after three thrilling seasons
– its Swan song will take place late this month during two three-day tests at Yas Marina circuit. Last, but not least, GP2 Series prepare to say farewell to one of its most beloved and trusting partners, Bridgestone. Thank you for six great years of a fruitful and successful collaboration.