Days of Our Drives: Part 1

Sunday saw an awesome end to this years Formula One season, though don’t you hate it when the championship results are settled before the last race? It’s like having the final match of the rugby world cup be a play off for second and third place. Though obviously, Brawn’s Jenson Button didn’t give a damn about that really. All of that aside though, here’s a hearty round of applause for a driver that’s been on the scene for aeons and has finally made his deserved mark! So now for the second year in a row we’ve seen a Brit win the Drivers’ Title, though props to Lewis Hamilton for giving us a much more exciting finish in 2008.

So the 2009 season has finished, now we’ll actually have to find something properly constructive to do every other weekend. In the meantime though, let’s talk about what should stay and what should go for 2010. Just off hand: Double diffuser mess ups, Ferrari excuses, Lewis Hamilton’s dad and fake champagne should all go. The question of what should stay is a lot trickier. It’s already been announced that Barrichello is leaving Brawn for Williams (hopefully this won’t repeat on his previous Ferrari to Honda downgrade experience) and Renault’s Fernando Alonso is confirmed as next years Ferrari driver alongside the greatly missed, Felipe Massa.

Now, dealing with the white elephant on the room, what about the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit. The day time, sunset, night time racing was great fun. When the lights come on, the full size of the track area becomes apparent, it looks like an entirely functioning city. The spectators (lucky buggers) were also spoilt rotten. With their seats placed ridiculously close to the circuit, the action was significantly better than usual, however, the main green monster creeps in after race hours.  Concerts took place every evening over the four day period, performing was Beyonce, Jamiroquai, Kings of Leon and Aerosmith. Isn’t having money lovely.

But what about the track? Passing seemed a bit thin on the ground, but one other thing bothered me. It is completely possible that I’m talking rubbish right now, but didn’t a lot of the corners remind you of sections on other tracks? Turn 7 reminds me of the hairpin at Monaco, and even Fernando Alonso said “I think that turns 11, 12 and 13 look interesting. I remember when we first saw the map of the circuit it reminded me of the difficult turn ten chicane in Singapore.” David Coulthard also saw similarities in the pit exit, “It is similar to Bahrain and that corner behind the pits.”

Bringing us neatly to the pit lane exit, comprising of a tunnel with a tight sharp-left at the bottom. I’m sure the track marshals play ching-chong-cha to see who gets the spot, standing in the tunnel wall facing the F1 cars hurtling towards them before sharply turning at the last minute. At least the sound must be nice.

Coulthard was not a fan, saying that “The bottom line is that it is actually a bit silly. It [the tunnel] is the width of a car and it is a 90-degree left at the bottom of a tunnel after a blind hill.”
We’ll probably have to wait for at least another race before we come to stropping conclusions about whether the track is hot or not, so only 2010 will tell. Only thing that properly bothers me, the colourful light sculpture thing, apparently it was a whale but reminded me of a gay squid. I’m sure it’s no reflection on the track, but the FIA have released their 2010 calendar and if things go according to plan, the Yas Marina circuit will drop down to the penultimate race (subject to homologation) and Brazil will go back to it’s spot as final race.  
With all that said, now we can sit back and watch the teams haggling over drivers and team colours for 2010. Stay tuned for more “Days of our Drives”.

Desiree Schirlinger
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