After ten long months of racing action from testing to Azerbaijan to Mexico, Formula One now arrives in Abu Dhabi for the final race and sunsetter of this 2017 season.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes might be this year’s world champions but there not everything is set in stone yet.
In the midfield constructor battle, there’s a three way fight between Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas F1.
There are also other various talking points so without further ado, here is the final F1 race weekend preview of 2017.
Battle for Sixth
Six seems to be the magical number to focus on this weekend because sixth place in constructor championship isn’t sorted yet.
Six points separate three teams contesting that position so will any driver in those teams finish sixth and clinch that position?
Toro Rosso currently have the advantage on 53 points but how just crucial could recently departed Daniil Kvyat’s tenth place in USA GP prove to be?
Four points behind is Renault, who boast two drivers capable of getting points this weekend, potentially doing enough to overhaul Toro Rosso.
Haas F1 might be two points behind Renault and six behind Toro Rosso but can’t be ruled out.
Should both Toro Rosso and Renault cars fail to score and Haas can muster seven points, they could leapfrog both into that sixth position and earn more prize money.
Being at a track that isn’t affected by sea level will surely favour the former two but Haas are capable of a upset here so its all to play for.
Can Red Bull build momentum?
This race will be a big test for Red Bull as they look to build momentum ahead of 2018.
Recent years have seen the Milton Keynes based team finish seasons strongly but fail to deliver at start of the next season.
In Red Bull’s media preview, both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have spoken of wanting to end this season on a strong finish before the winter break.
Discussing his thoughts on this weekend and the winter break, Verstappen said; “Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.
The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back in to training before it all starts again.”
Ricciardo had similar feelings but wants a win or podium, saying; “When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.
I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”
Yas Marina circuit is a power based track but Red Bull have gone well in races here so they will be ones to watch during this weekend at front.
With FP1 running in early afternoon local time, most teams will be bound to use that session to experiment with new parts for 2018.
We should see the front runners including Force India and Williams, definitely trying out new features.
I think it will be a surprised if Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas F1 experiment given that they will certainly want to get as much data in as can, with sixth place finish still up for grabs.
McLaren are switching to Renault engines next season so I can see them focusing more on technical experimentation with the aerodynamics more than other areas.
Sauber will probably do what the top five teams are doing and run whatever experimental parts they have available for 2018 at minute.
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