The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held across the weekend of the 18–20 November 2022. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix represents the twenty-second and final round of the season one week after the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the twenty-first race of the championship. For the tenth and final time during the season, the first between the Bahrain Grand Prix, the opening race of the season, and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second between the Spanish Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix, the third between the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix, the fourth between the British Grand Prix and the Austrian Grand Prix, the fifth between the French Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix, the sixth between the Belgian Grand Prix and the Dutch Grand Prix, the seventh between the Dutch race and the Italian Grand Prix, the eighth between the Singapore Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix, and the ninth between the United States of America Grand Prix and the Mexico City Grand Prix, the world championship sees the running of a Grand Prix a week apart. After the last three races run on the American continent, the world championship moves back to Asia for the first time since the holding of the Japanese Grand Prix, for the fifth and final round on this continent. It is the second and final round to be held in November, the eleventh of the second part of the season, and the ninth race after the mandatory three-week summer break, as well as the last in the championship consisting of the record number of twenty-two rounds, as in the previous season. The contract for holding the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the Formula One World Championship calendar, also at the Yas Marina circuit, is valid until the 2030 season. Sponsor of the Grand Prix, as since the inaugural edition in 2009, is the local national airline Etihad Airways. Unlike the previous edition, run in December, the race is run in November, for the first time since the 2018 edition. This edition is attended by 160.000 spectators over the course of the race weekend. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix represents the 22nd and final round of the championship. Initially, the race was to represent the twenty-third round, setting a new record for the most races during a season, as it did the previous year, but in February, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIA temporarily suspended the Russian Grand Prix, only to cancel it permanently a few days later, at the same time terminating the contract for holding the Grand Prix in subsequent seasons.
The Russian Grand Prix was initially to be replaced, but in May the FIA reduced the number of dates for the championship to twenty-two, the same record number of Grands Prix as the previous season. The race is once again established as the last of the season. Since the inaugural edition in 2009, the Grand Prix has been the preserve of the last round of the year, except for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons, in which the Brazilian Grand Prix was chosen as the last race. The championship ends, for the first time since the 2018 season, in November, shortly after the middle of the month, to avoid overlap with the World Cup, then starting on the same date as the race after FIFA changed the calendar. A change in the start time of the race had initially been considered, bringing it forward by a few hours, to avoid overlap with Qatar-Ecuador, the opening match of Group A of the World Cup held in Qatar. Present on the Formula 1 World Championship calendar since the 2009 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix sees the holding of its 14th edition valid for the World Championship. Once added to the Formula 1 World Championship calendar, the Grand Prix was the second in the category's history to be held in the Middle East, following the Bahrain Grand Prix, which made its debut in the 2004 season. Yas Marina Circuit, the venue of the race, is the track to have hosted all editions of the race, on two main configurations. The first used from the inaugural edition in 2009 until the 2020 edition, while the second in use since the previous edition in 2021. Changes for the second configuration, in order to facilitate overtaking, were made at the hairpin before the first straight, with the chicane before it removed and the corner itself widened with a wider road section, at the sequence of 90-degree turns, at the end of the second straight, where it was replaced by a single corner, and in the third sector, where the corners were opened slightly to try to allow cars to follow each other better. The length of the track, which was always to be run counterclockwise anyway, was reduced, as was the total number of corners. Instead, the race distance was increased by a few laps. It is the only circuit among all those on the calendar where the pit lane exit travels a short distance characterized by an underpass. From the first edition, it was announced that the start of the race was postponed to 5:00 p.m. to facilitate viewing by the European public, with the race starting at dusk and ending at night. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marks the last race in Formula 1 for Aston Martin's German driver Sebastian Vettel.
On the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel had announced his retirement at the end of the season. The German driver made his Formula 1 debut in the 2007 season during the U.S. Grand Prix driving for the former German team BMW Sauber as a reserve driver. Also from 2007 until 2008 he raced for the Italian manufacturer under the name Toro Rosso at the time, with which he won his first race in the category in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, at the time the youngest driver to triumph in a race. From 2009 to 2014 he raced for the Austrian Red Bull Racing team before joining Ferrari, where he competed from 2015 to 2020. For the past two seasons, he has been hired by the British team Aston Martin, with his best result coming in second place in the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. During his career, he has competed in 298 Grands Prix, winning 53 of them, ranking third on the all-time list for races won behind Britain's Lewis Hamilton (103) and compatriot Michael Schumacher (91). He won four drivers' world championships, fourth on the world championship roll, all with Red Bull Racing and consecutive between 2010 and 2013, a record equaled by Hamilton and Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, and surpassed only by Schumacher, with the first world championship won setting the record for the youngest driver to win a world title at 23 years and 134 days, as well as setting, in 16 seasons, 122 podiums, ranking third overall, 57 pole positions, fourth overall behind Hamilton (103), Schumacher (68) and Brazil's Ayrton Senna (65), and 38 fastest laps, scoring 3,097 points, along with eight hat tricks, ranking sixth overall, and four Grand Chelem, ranking eighth overall. Vettel holds the record for the most consecutive wins, nine, in the 2013 season with Red Bull Racing. In parallel, for the Spanish driver of the French stable Alpine, Fernando Alonso, it is the last Grand Prix with the Enstone-based team. Alonso had announced his move to Aston Martin, replacing Vettel, after the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Spaniard with the Alpine has raced since the previous season when he returned to race in the top category for the first time since the 2018 season, with his best result with the French team being third place in the first Qatar Grand Prix run in 2021.
Australian driver of British stable McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo, will also run his last race with the Woking-based team after two seasons. Despite a contract to drive the following season, it was terminated early by mutual agreement between the parties. Ricciardo's best result with the British team was victory in the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. His place will be filled by Piastri. Ricciardo, in 2023, will be the third driver for the Austrian Red Bull Racing team, with which he raced as a starting driver from 2014 to 2018. The Australian is penalized three grid positions for causing a collision with the Danish driver of the U.S. Haas team, Kevin Magnussen, during the previous Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Finally, for Williams' Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi, it is also the last race with the Grove-based team. Latifi has raced with Williams since the 2020 season, with his best result appanage seventh place in the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. The British team, in fact, had announced that should he be granted a super-license, the Formula 2 driver for the British Carlin Motorsport team, Logan Sargeant, and the team's reserve driver, would be made official for next season in Latifi's place. Sargeant would become the first U.S. driver to run in the category since Alexander Rossi in 2015 driving for the former British team Marussia. Pierre Gasly, too, runs his last race with the Faenza-based team: despite a contract to run an additional year, the French driver signs for Alpine, replacing Alonso. Gasly has raced, as a regular driver, with AlphaTauri since the 2018 season, when the team had the name Toro Rosso, getting the best result the victory in the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, the only one of his career. Gasly, as known, will be replaced of the 2020-2021 Formula E and 2019 Formula 2 champion, Dutchman Nyck De Vries, a reserve driver for Mercedes in this championship, who has already made his debut in the category during the Italian Grand Prix, starting from the third free practice session replacing Williams' Thai driver Alexander Albon, as he was diagnosed with appendicitis, with the number 45, after soon taking part in the first free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix, again in place of Albon for the British team, with the same number, in the same session of the French Grand Prix in place of British driver Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, with the number 19, again at the same stage in Aston Martin in place of Vettel in the Italian Grand Prix, with the number 34, and again for Mercedes in the same session of the Mexico City Grand Prix in place of George Russell, with the number 19.
Haas's German driver Mick Schumacher is also having his last race with the U.S. team after two seasons as a starting driver. His best result was sixth place in the Austrian Grand Prix. On the eve of the race, Thursday, November 17, 2022, Haas F1 Team has signed Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg to contest the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship alongside Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen. Hülkenberg (35), a Formula 1 veteran with 181 career starts and a 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans race winner with Porsche, makes his full-time return to the sport next year with the American squad having spent the past two seasons in the role of reserve driver for the Aston Martin F1 Team. Hülkenberg was active in the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship standing in for Sebastian Vettel at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and again at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but the Emmerich-born racer made his first Formula 1 start back in 2010 debuting for Williams at the Bahrain Grand Prix following a stellar junior career. A champion in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport with A1 Team Germany in 2006-07, Hülkenberg then won the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series followed by the 2009 GP2 Series (now known as the FIA Formula 2 Championship) - prompting a swift graduation into Formula 1 for 2010. Having raced for Williams, Force India, Sauber, Renault, Racing Point and Aston Martin, Hülkenberg has amassed 521 career points in Formula 1 - including one pole position (Brazil 2010), two fastest laps and a best-finish of fourth three times. The German holds a qualifying resume which includes 94 Q3 appearances. A career high of seventh place in the Driver Standings came with Renault back in the 2018 season.
"I’m naturally very pleased to be welcoming Nico Hülkenberg back to a full-time racing role in Formula 1".
Commented Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team.
"The experience and knowledge base Nico brings to the team is clear to see - with nearly 200 career starts in Formula 1 - and a reputation as being a great qualifier and a solid, reliable racer. These are attributes, which when you pair them together with Kevin Magnussen’s experience, gives us a very credible and well-seasoned driver line-up which we believe will help push the team onwards up the grid. That’s obviously the goal and it was that ambition that has prompted Nico’s return to Formula 1 - he shares our vision and can be a key player together with the rest of the team in building on the foundations we’ve laid this year with our return to the points battle. I’m very happy to move into a full-time race seat with Haas F1 Team in 2023".
Stated Nico Hülkenberg.
"I feel like I never really left Formula 1. I’m excited to have the opportunity to do what I love the most again and want to thank Gene Haas and Günther Steiner for their trust. We have work ahead of us to be able to compete with all the other teams in the midfield, and I cannot wait to join that battle again".
Hülkenberg will start work for Haas F1 Team on Tuesday 22 nd November participating in the end of season Formula 1 test hosted in Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit - Hülkenberg piloting this season’s VF-22 alongside the team’s test and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi in the second car. Haas F1 Team and Mick Schumacher will part ways at the conclusion of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The German driver joined the American team in December 2020 having won the Formula 2 Championship that year. Over two full seasons competing in Formula 1 Schumacher has scored a best result of sixth place for Haas F1 Team - his points haul coming in the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, one week after collecting his maiden points for an eighth-place finish at the 2022 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Schumacher currently sits 16th overall in the 2022 Drivers’ Standings on 12 points.
"I would like to thank Mick Schumacher for his contribution to the team over the past couple of years".
Stated Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team.
"Mick’s pedigree in the junior categories was well known and he has continued to grow and develop as a driver in his time with Haas F1 Team - culminating in his first Formula 1 points-scoring successes earlier this season. While choosing to go in separate directions for the future the entire team wishes Mick well for the next steps in his career path and beyond".
Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc and Red Bull Racing's Mexican driver Sergio Pérez face the Grand Prix, the last of the season, paired on 290 points in the fight for second place in the drivers' championship. For the second consecutive edition of the race, a podium position is decided in the last race after Pérez's teammate, Dutch world champion Max Verstappen, and Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton, fighting for the title, had the same 369.5 points before the final act the year before. Hamilton is contesting his 200th Grand Prix with the German manufacturer. The Finnish driver of Swiss stable Alfa Romeo, Valtteri Bottas, will have his 200th Grand Prix in the category. Bottas made his Formula 1 debut with British stable Williams in the 2013 season before joining German manufacturer Mercedes from 2017 to 2021. Since then he has scored ten wins, 67 podiums, 1.787 points, twenty pole positions, nineteen fastest laps and two hat tricks. His best result was second place in the drivers' world championship in the 2019 and 2020 seasons with Mercedes, behind Britain's Lewis Hamilton. Tuesday, November 15, 2022, Liberty Media s proud to announce that the world’s first official Formula 1 Exhibition will open in Madrid on Friday 24 March 2023. Hosted at the renowned IFEMA MADRID and running until Sunday 16 July 2023, this first-of-its-kind exhibition is set to provide a stunning adventure through the extraordinary world of Formula 1. Officially developed in association with Formula 1 and with unprecedented support from the motorsport community, the show boasts a wide range of never-before-seen artefacts and contributions from the sport’s most legendary teams, experts and personalities. Produced in partnership with Round Room Live, the exhibition is delivered across six purpose-built rooms, each specially designed in collaboration with award-winning artists, filmmakers and craftspeople. Delving far beyond what fans have ever seen before, the show uses bold, technology-led design features and large-scale interactive displays to lift the lid on Formula 1’s past, present and future. Several years in the making, the stunning 90-minute experience neatly combines spectacular audio-visual design, rare film and imagery, engineering and educational displays, sculptural pieces and iconic Grand Prix cars to deliver an immersive experience for everyone - from avid followers to younger fans and families. Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO, Formula 1, said:
"The opening of this spectacular exhibition marks a significant moment in the history of Formula 1. As the sport continues to grow at an exponential rate, it’s vital that our fanbase remains at the forefront of everything we do. Launching this world-class international exhibition allows more fans around the world to fall in love with F1, while providing the perfect platform for us to honour the sport’s incredible history. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this project and helped to build an exhibition that captures the heart and soul of the sport we all love".
And Timothy Harvey, Lead Curator & Producer said:
"To curate and produce the world’s first official Formula 1 Exhibition has been a huge honour. This show takes fans behind the curtain of Formula 1, providing a new range of fascinating perspectives and unexpected stories about the sport. We have been overwhelmed by the support of so many of the F1 Teams and luminaries. I believe the show celebrates Formula 1’s rich history and heritage in a dramatic and fun way that will engage everyone from avid fans to young kids and families. It’s been many years in the making and now I can’t wait to open the doors in Madrid".
On the eve of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, McLaren's top management announces that construction of the team's planned wind tunnel has not met its planned schedule, which will be ready in mid-2023. The Woking-based stable will have to continue development of the next championship car in Toyota's old wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany, while Alpine announces it has fired its head of legal affairs, Benedicte Mercie, after a legal battle with British stable McLaren over the future of the French team's 2021 Formula 2 champion and reserve driver, Australian Oscar Piastri, initially announced by Alpine but later declared by the Federation's contract recognition committee to run with McLaren, the only valid contract signed with the British team. Friday, November 19, 2022, Liberty Media announces that the Sprint races, which will be doubled to six over the course of the next championship, will be held at the Azerbaijan, Austrian, Belgian, Belgian, Qatari, U.S. and Sao Paulo Grand Prix. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix remains in contention for a possible change to the Qatar Grand Prix. Beginning with this Grand Prix, the winner receives a Federation medal, presented during the podium ceremony so that drivers can keep it as a personal memento of their achievements. Eight drivers take part in Friday's first free practice session. This season's Brazilian Formula 2 world champion driver for the Dutch team MP Motorsport, Felipe Drugovich, and Aston Martin's reserve driver from the Japanese Grand Prix, runs in the session in place of Canadian Lance Stroll, with the number 34. The reserve driver of the U.S. Haas team, Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi, takes part in the same session in place of German Mick Schumacher with the number 51. For Fittipaldi it is the second lineup in the season after he participated in the same session at the Mexico City Grand Prix in place of Dane Kevin Magnussen, also with the same number. The British McLaren team's reserve driver, Mexican Patricio O'Ward, is running in the same stage in place of Briton Lando Norris, with the number 28. French Formula 2 driver for British team Carlin Motorsport, Logan Sargeant, and reserve driver for British stable Williams, runs in the same session in place of Canadian Nicholas Latifi, using the number 45.
For Sargeant it is the fourth line-up in the season after he took part in the first free practice session of the U.S. Grand Prix always in Latifi's place, using the same number, during the same session of the Mexico City Grand Prix in place of Thailand's Alexander Albon, again using the same number in use, and during the second free practice session of the previous Sao Paulo Grand Prix, again replacing Albon with the same number. Another Formula 2 driver for the British team UNI-Virtuosi, and reserve driver for the French stable Alpine, Australian Jack Doohan, takes part in the same session in place of Spaniard Fernando Alonso with the number 82. For Doohan it is the second lineup in the season after replacing Frenchman Esteban Ocon in the same session at the Mexico City Grand Prix, with the same number. Alfa Romeo's reserve driver, Poland's Robert Kubica, takes part in the same session with the number 88 in place of China's Zhou Guanyu. Kubica is lined up for the fourth time this season, after always taking Zhou's place, during the first Friday free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix, with the same number, Finland's Valtteri Bottas, in the same session, in the French Grand Prix, also with the same number, and again Bottas, in the same session, in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Ferrari's reserve driver Robert Shwartzman, the 2019 Formula 3 world champion, runs in the same session using the number 39 in place of Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. For Shwartzman, it is the second lineup in the season after he replaced Monegasque Charles Leclerc in the same session in the U.S. Grand Prix with the same number. Finally, Formula 2 driver for British stable Carlin Motorsport, and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, New Zealander Liam Lawson, takes part in the same session in place of Dutchman Max Verstappen, using the number 36. For Lawson it is the third lineup in the season after he participated in the same session of the Belgian Grand Prix, for AlphaTauri in place of Frenchman Pierre Gasly, using the number 40, and in the same session of the Mexico City Grand Prix, also for AlphaTauri, in place of Japanese Yuki Tsunoda, using the same number. For Drugovich and O'Ward this was their debut in a Formula One Grand Prix race weekend. Starting with this championship, according to sporting regulations, all ten teams entered in the championship are required to field at least two young drivers during free practice sessions.
Teams have a predetermined number of sessions in which to field young rookies. The number of drivers participating in the session is not the preserve of the starters, breaking the record set in the U.S. Grand Prix and the Mexico City Grand Prix, where five drivers will participate in the session. For this Grand Prix, like the previous one, the FIA appoints German Niels Wittich as race director. Former Formula 1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi is appointed assistant commissioner. The Italian has served in this capacity on several occasions in the past, most recently at the Mexico City Grand Prix. It is the German car manufacturer Mercedes that provides the safety car and the medical car. During the F1 Commission meeting on the eve of the race, a study for a complete revision of the sporting regulations for 2024 in an attempt to simplify the rules with an overhaul is released. A number of points were discussed in the meeting. Indications gathered from the drivers pointed out that visibility in extreme rain is critical with ground effect single-seaters, leading to delays in Grand Prix starts or imposing the need to suspend activity on the track. The Federation for this has initiated a study to define a kit aimed at eliminating the spray generated in wet conditions. The study found different penalties as a result of power unit replacement. The F1 Commission notes that the current rules do not sufficiently deter teams, but encourage even tactical replacement of certain engine elements once a driver has exceeded a certain penalty threshold. In this way, costs undergo an uncontrolled acceleration, undermining the restrictions on power units to be used in a championship. The federation's goal is to abolish thermal blankets from 2024. However, following input from drivers, it was decided to postpone any decision until July 2023, to gather more data before reaching final conclusions. The F1 Commission approves the idea of bringing forward by one lap the activation of the Drag Reduction System at the start of a Grand Prix and Sprint race, or after a safety car restart. This change will be tried in the 2023 Sprint races with the intention of making the rule always operational from 2024. Ways to simplify the parc fermé procedure when the event includes a Sprint race are also discussed, and the allowances that will be awarded to teams in the event of an accident during Sprint races are also revised, the proposal to give a lump-sum allowance for each Sprint race at $300.000 being approved, abolishing all other ancillary counts.
Finally, other minor changes to the 2023 technical and financial regulations were unanimously approved. The FIA confirms the two traditional Drag Reduction System zones used both in the old layout used from the inaugural edition in 2009 until 2020 and in the new track configuration introduced in the previous edition where drivers can use the mobile device. The first zone is set on the long straight located between Turn 5 and Turn 6, with detection point established before Turn 5, while the second zone is set between Turn 8 and Turn 9, with driver gap detection point established after Turn 7. Compared to the previous edition, the first detection point, located before Turn 5, has been moved further back, being placed 250 meters before the turn. The circuit, compared to the previous edition, is undergoing some changes. New debris fences have been installed between Turn 4 and Turn 5, to the left of Turn 15 and on the island separating Turn 7 and Turn 16. New artificial turf was installed in the runway of Turn 1, Turn 4 and Turn 7. On the right side of Turn 2 and the left side of Turn 10, the first row of TecPro barrier was replaced with 2018 specifications. All the paint on the track surface was reapplied with the Federation-approved paint. Light panel number 5, located on the right at Turn 4, is moved a little further back, as is light panel number 6, located on the right before Turn 5. The Federation stipulates that, for track limits, the dotted white line through the pit exit of the support categories is defined as that of the trackside. If drivers disregard the track limits at the exit of Turn 16, their lap time and the one immediately following will be invalidated by the stewards. On Wednesday's day, McLaren and Alfa Romeo use one of the eight covers granted during the season to carry out operations on their cars. The British and Swiss teams do not receive penalties. For this Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole tire supplier, offers a choice of C3, C4 and C5 compound tires, the type of softer compounds that characterize the entire range made available by the tire supplier for the championship. Since the 2019 edition of the Grand Prix, the Italian manufacturer has named the same type in light of the characteristics presented by the circuit. For the sixth and final time this season, after what happened in the Monaco, Azerbaijan, Canada, Austria and Singapore Grand Prix, the compounds selected by Pirelli are the softer ones. If the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix puts an end to the 2022 Championship, F1 is not yet ready to stop. The same Yas Marina circuit will in fact host the Pirelli tests ahead of 2023. Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, has this to say:
"At Abu Dhabi, a truly thrilling season comes to an end. Last year's modifications to some of the straights and corners on the Yas Marina track have made the circuit faster, balancing the longitudinal and lateral demands on the tyres - whereas previously it was more about traction and braking. Despite these changes to the layout, there is still going to be a lot of attention paid to the rear tyres in order to guarantee the best traction over long stints. On the Tuesday after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 2023 slick tyres will be tried out during a full day of testing, where the teams will be able to decide their run plans as well as which drivers to use: race drivers or young drivers…".
Max Verstappen did not give up his position at Interlagos to favor his teammate in the standings. However, the Milton Keynes team seems to have resolved the issue internally, with an explanatory statement, published just before the press conference with Verstappen present, to end the controversy:
"As a team we made some mistakes in Brazil. We had not envisaged the situation that unfolded on the last lap and we had not agreed a strategy for such a scenario before the race. Regretfully, Max was only informed at the final corner of the request to give up position without all the necessary information being relayed. This put Max, who has always been an open and fair team player, in a compromising situation with little time to react which was not our intention. Following the race Max spoke openly and honestly, allowing for both drivers to resolve any outstanding issues or concerns. The Team accept Max's reasoning, the conversation was a personal matter which will remain private between the team and no further comment will be made. The events that followed from a social media point of view are completely unacceptable. The abusive online behavior towards Max, Checo, the Team and their respective families is shocking and saddening and unfortunately is something that we as a sport are having to address with depressing regularity. There is no place for it in racing or society as a whole and we need to do and be better. At the end of the day this is a sport, we are here to race. Death threats, hate mail, vitriol towards extended family members is deplorable. We value inclusion and want a safe space for everyone to work in and enjoy our sport. The abuse needs to stop".
Another long-awaited verdict is the one for second place in the Constructors' standings. The two contending teams are Ferrari and Mercedes, the latter fresh from its first success of the season in Brazil with George Russell. Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff says:
"To score a 1-2 finish in Brazil was an incredible result for the team, but it's been made more special by the challenges we have faced this season and how we have overcome them. Securing our first victory of the season is the result of so much hard work, dedication and determination from everyone involved. Our team never stopped believing and never stopped pushing. I couldn't be prouder of them, and it shows just how strong our values are. George was on it all weekend. Faultless on Sunday, he couldn't be more deserving of his first F1 victory and we are so pleased for him. It's a very special moment in his F1 career and a race we'll all remember for many years to come. Lewis put in a brilliant recovery drive. His race pace was impressive, and he put in some incredible overtakes, to fight back through the field and secure the 1-2 finish for the team. We don't expect to be as competitive in Abu Dhabi due to the circuit's characteristics but given the surprises we've had this year with W13, we'll just have to wait and see. We still have an outside chance of P2 in the championship - and the points gap to Ferrari is the smallest it has been all year. Hopefully we'll keep this positive momentum going to end the year strong".
The Abu Dhabi weekend will not only be the last round of the 2022 World Championship. The F1 grid will in fact see some farewells ahead of the next season. Nicholas Latifi will run his last race with Williams; the Canadian driver comments on his last F1 appointment:
"I'm coming into my final race weekend with the team and in Formula 1 so I'm looking to enjoy it as much as I can. I'll be sitting out of FP1 this weekend but as we qualify and race at night it won't make too much of a difference. It's sad to be at the last race but it's been a great three years at Williams with a lot of ups and downs. Hopefully I can end the season on as high a note as possible".
And as for the last Grand Prix of the season, Alex Albon adds:
"It's the last race of the season so we'll see how we go this week, obviously wanting to end on a high note and give some motivation to everyone during the winter season. This track should suit us more than the last two races and with it being Nicky's last race with the team, hopefully we can all put on a good race for him".
Future Williams driver Logan Sargeant prepares for FP, aiming to win the points needed to obtain a superlicense:
"I'm looking forward to my last Free Practice outing of the year followed by the Young Driver Test with Williams. It's been a fantastic opportunity to get this much time behind the wheel of the FW44 across four race weekends. Over the sessions, I've been able to learn a lot about the new generation of cars compared to what I drove in the Young Driver Test last year. Alongside FP1 this weekend, my focus is on the final race of my Formula 2 season which I'm hoping to finish as strongly as possible".
Last race also for Daniel Ricciardo, who will leave his place to Oscar Piastri and will probably return to Red Bull as third driver, as said by team advisor Helmut Marko. The Australian driver states:
"Here we go, one last time in papaya. I'm looking forward to getting out there and giving it everything for these last days of the season. I think there could be some fun battles and potential to overtake in these new cars so it will be great to put the MCL36 through one last dance. My focus is now trying to finish this season on the highest possible high".
Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, also adds:
"The team are excited for Abu Dhabi. It has been a long season with everyone working extremely hard, so we have one final big push to go. The team will also say goodbye to Daniel at the end of the weekend, but until Sunday evening we keep fighting together. It will be interesting to see how this year's car runs on the new layout that we debuted last year as hopefully it will allow for good overtaking opportunities. Vuse have also taken over the livery for this race weekend as part of their Driven by Change initiative which is a nice way to celebrate the end of the season. Whilst the gap to P4 in the Constructors' Championship is bigger than hoped, this season has shown that anything is possible so we keep our heads down and continue to fight as hard as we can for these final few days. Let's go team".
"It's the final race weekend of the year! We have some bouncing back to do from last weekend but I'm looking forward to getting back on track and fighting for one last time this season. The car is also looking really cool for this weekend in a special livery with our partner Vuse so I'm excited for you to see it out on track. Let's make the last race a positive one".
One of the latest announcements was the confirmation of the farewell between Mick Schumacher and Haas. The young German's place will be taken by Nico Hulkenberg. Ahead of his, for now, last race in F1, Schumacher says:
"Don’t stop believing in yourself and prove them wrong. Formula 1 is my life, I love every single moment of it, and the learnings and tough times, that’s all a part of it and it’s just a matter of how you go about it and cope with it. That’s when you know if you’re made out for this sport or not".
Most of the attention of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, however, falls on Sebastian Vettel. The four-time World Champion says goodbye to F1:
"This is obviously going to be a very emotional weekend as my Grand Prix career draws to a close. I am sure that this race will bring back plenty of happy memories from the last 15 years, and I want to enjoy my last race with the team and with everyone I have met during my time in the sport. It has been a fantastic two years with Aston Martin F1, with lots of fun moments and some great memories. I want to go out on a high, so we will go and fight hard and deliver a great result at the circuit where I secured my first world title, 12 years ago".
It will continue, however, Lance Stroll, who about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix says:
"The track revisions have made it a little easier to overtake, and we also have cars that promote closer racing. With the new layout, hopefully we can perform well and end this year with another positive result. I also want to pay tribute to Sebastian ahead of his final Grand Prix. He has been a fantastic team-mate over the last two years, a brilliant person to work with, a man from whom I have learned a lot about both racing and life. I wish the best future for him and his family".
The last GP of the year also casts minds to what is to come. In fact, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly are preparing to change team, not before facing their last challenge with Alpine and AlphaTauri. The French driver, despite a not particularly easy season, comments:
"Brazil was another weekend where it just didn't come together for us in the race. Even though I pushed as hard as I could, it was again a frustrating afternoon with no points. Now we come to the final round, which will be important as it's our final chance to take eighth place in the Constructors’. It's going to be a very emotional weekend of course. My last one with the team after five years spent together. It means our relationship has been much more than just a working partnership. I know all the engineers and mechanics and the people in the factory personally, having spent time together even in our private lives. It's the last race of a long history, as I don't think many drivers have spent five years with a team. There have been so many really great moments that we have shared together and what's certain, is that whatever happens this weekend I will be trying my very best in the hope we can end with a good race and a nice result. But apart from that, I just want to enjoy the weekend as a whole and to think of all the great times we spent together over the past few years. As for the race itself, last year I finished fifth, but this year I do not have such high expectations, because our performance has been hard to predict from one race to the next. This year, it has generally been difficult for us to fight for points places, but that is still our aim and personally I would love to end this story with Scuderia AlphaTauri by finishing in the top 10 together one last time".
This will be the last Grand Prix together for Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly:
"Sao Paulo turned out to be a difficult time for me right from the start, as I just could not find the grip. Changing the car set-up completely before the race helped a bit, even if I had to start from the pitlane. However, I still wasn't completely happy with the car. I hope we can find a solution to feel better in the car for this final race. Last year in Abu Dhabi was a fantastic weekend for me, just brilliant. I have very happy memories of how the season ended there. It was a great end to my first year in Formula 1, qualifying eighth and then finishing fourth, just one place ahead of Pierre, so that it was a fantastic team result too. I felt I was able to show what I could do and demonstrate to my team the extra confidence I had built up by the end of the year. It would be nice to be able to repeat that this time, but I am not expecting too much, as last year's car was better than this year's. All the same, I will tackle the weekend in my usual way and see how it goes. The Yas Marina circuit can be quite tricky, and tyre degradation in the final sector can be a problem, so your set-up has to be somewhere in the middle. You cannot have a perfect set-up that suits every part of the track. I will be sad to see Pierre go. He has been a really good teammate both on and off the track. We became real friends away from the track and we also had a great professional relationship. I learned a lot from him at every race, especially last year. I would not have made as much progress as I have without him. So, I will say a big thank you to him and I hope we can enjoy this last race weekend together".
Alonso then dedicates a few words to his years with his soon-to-be former team:
"I've enjoyed racing for Alpine and being back in Enstone and Viry. I have very fond memories of my past with Renault and now Alpine at both factories and the team will always have a special place in my heart. When I returned to Formula 1 for the start of the 2021 season, the team welcomed me and made me feel immediately comfortable. Since then, we've gone on to achieve some strong results. The podium in Qatar was a personal highlight for me and something we achieved on merit that weekend. We all faced a totally new set of regulations for 2022 and the team has done well to get on top of these changes and there has been progress compared to last year".
And Esteban Ocon adds:
"We hope to carry the momentum of last Sunday into the weekend. Our package is competitive, and the car should perform well there. The pre-race preparations will remain the same and we are confident we can have a good week in Abu Dhabi and finish the season on a high. It's been an intense year with ups and downs, and everyone has worked incredibly hard, but it is definitely not the time to relax just yet. One last push as a team and I'm confident we'll achieve our goal. Let's make it one to remember".
Alpine are still called upon to defend themselves against McLaren at the Abu Dhabi weekend. The French team want to end the season in fourth place, behind only Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal, says:
"We still have a job on our hands this weekend with the objective to finish the season with both cars scoring points. The Championship is still close and, while last weekend's race put us in a strong position, it ain't over till it's over! We will, therefore, remain focused on the task and that is preparing well on Friday, reaching Q3 on Saturday and then race well with both cars on Sunday. We also have Jack Doohan in the car in FP1 and we'll count on his input to benefit the team's weekend performance. It's been a long season and I know everyone in the team is looking ahead to a deserved break. It's the final push in Abu Dhabi and I look forward to seeing how the race weekend pans out".
Guenther Steiner, Haas Team Principal, As usual, he talks about the Grand Prix. Brazil was a weekend probably unlike any other Haas F1 Team has experienced in its seven-year history - with the standout moment naturally being Kevin Magnussen and the team’s first pole position. Now you’ve had some time to reflect on that moment - talk us through your emotions at the time and ultimately what it means for the team to check another milestone off?
"The feeling when we realized that the pole position was done - which was pretty quick after the first six or seven cars came over the finish line because the rain intensified - was just a feeling of satisfaction. For me personally I was so happy for the team as they always put so much effort in. I always say being last is the same amount of effort as being first so hats off to them as they made no mistakes at all during qualifying, it was perfectly executed. The mechanics, engineers and Kevin did a fantastic job on Friday afternoon".
Kevin converted pole position in Brazil to a points-paying finish in the Sprint on the Saturday - marking his third consecutive Sprint points finish. Just how important could that eighth place point be for the team in its battle for eighth in the Constructors’ Championship?
"Finishing eighth was not only a point that counts, it’s also that he kept position not only because we knew the top-three teams will overtake us and only one McLaren got past. I’m very proud of what was achieved in the Sprint and I think we could’ve done something very similar on Sunday if Ricciardo hadn’t of taken us out on the first lap. Anyway, here we are and hopefully that point makes the difference, and we can stay in front of AlphaTauri, as that’s what we’re aiming for now for the last race".
We come to Yas Marina Circuit this weekend and Pietro Fittipaldi is once again behind the wheel of the VF-22 for the FP1 session ahead of his participation in the post-season test in Abu Dhabi next week - how important is that seat time ahead of next week and what are the objectives with Pietro in both FP1 and the test?
"Pietro has been a part of the Haas family for a few years now and as our official reserve driver we need to put him in the car so at least he can stay sharp in case we need to get him in the car during a race weekend. The objectives are to do a good job and learn about the car - he already knows how to work with the engineers - but to get a feeling of the car and give us his feedback on the car. Additional feedback is always good for the team".
The conclusion of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship this weekend, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, marks the end of another frantic season. How would you evaluate the season and what are the goals heading into the off-season in terms of the work being done to capitalize on this season’s strengths?
"It was a comeback season after two years being at the end of the classifications of the Constructors’ Championship but what we said last year was that we focus on the future and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve taken a big step forward. It hasn’t been as smooth as we wanted it to be but it’s very difficult in the modern era of Formula 1 to come back from where we were to where we are now. I think the whole team has done a good job to get us to this point and hopefully we finish eighth - fingers crossed! We just need to take lessons from this year - there are a few to be learned - and we adapt for next year, and we will get back even stronger. We know we can do it, we showed again that we can come back and we will come back even stronger next year".
Finally, after the checkered flag drops - what then becomes your priority as Team Principal heading into winter?
"To get everyone focused on next year because as much as it sounds strange but when a season like this finishes you just want more of it and want to be better for next year. That will be my priority - trying to motivate everyone to get better, trying to make those who have done 22 races to get a bit of rest and now the pressure is on the people who are preparing next year’s car - designing, developing and preparing. It’s not a long winter anyway and we just need to get ready for the test next year in Bahrain".
Kevin Magnussen had an excellent championship despite being recalled at the last moment after Nikita Mazepin's departure. The São Paulo Grand Prix will be a race weekend to remember for a long time for both yourself and the team, scoring your first pole position in Formula 1, the first time in 47 years since an American Formula 1 team has achieved such feat. With so much action happening during the final F1 Sprint of the season, can you take us back to Friday afternoon and take us on the journey to starting on the front row on Saturday?
"The radar said it was going to rain in Q3 and it was a little bit of a gamble to go out on the slicks but almost everyone else did too. When I knew they were on slicks I knew we were on the right tire. I also knew that it would probably be that first lap that would count. I did the lap, and it was a good lap, but I was obviously surprised that it was pole. Then we had the red flag so we had to wait in the garage and luckily it started raining more so nobody could improve their lap times, so I got pole, but it was a long eight minutes for sure".
The final round of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship brings the paddock to the picturesque Yas Island, for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As well as celebrating the end of the season, it’s also a fitting place to look back over the past 21 races - what have been your standout moments and learnings from your eighth year in the sport?
"The first standout moment was coming back to the sport altogether. Of course, it was surprising at the beginning of the year to even be on the grid. Then to finish fifth and get the teams’ first points in a couple of years was great as well. After that, we had been strong for many races, but I’d say nothing beats that pole position. It’s those three things - coming back to the sport, scoring points in the first race and then getting pole position. Overall, it’s being a part of this comeback for the team into strong competitiveness again, that’s been the main thing".
A track with a 1.2km straight between Turns 5 and 6 and an array of slow-speed corners always makes for an exciting race. Is this a track you like and do you think there’s a good chance of points to close out the season?
"Yas Marina is a special race because it’s the last one, the atmosphere is special. Obviously the title has already been decided and usually there is a big party here too. It’s quite cool because it’s a night race as well - everything looks very shiny and bright. They’ve changed the track quite a bit and I’ve not driven this layout yet so I’m looking forward to trying that".
With development of the VF-23 now in full focus, how would you rate this season’s challenger in overall performance and where do you think changes need to be made to be fighting in the top-half of the midfield consistently next season?
"The obvious things that we need to try and improve are power, downforce and weight. Power is out of our hands, it’s in the hands of Ferrari who will surely do a good job on that. We need to put more downforce on the car and make it lighter and improve our understanding of what the car needs from a set-up perspective. That’s going to be a moving target with a new car for next year, we need to really learn a big part of it. It’s the same sort of Formula 1 car, it’s very stiff and very low but I think it’s going to be exciting, it’s always exciting looking ahead to a new season".
Before we close the book on another 22-race season - is there anything you want to say to the hardworking team - both at track and back at base - as well as the fans who’ve supported Haas F1 Team through a re-emergence in form ready for the future?
"It’s certainly going to be a season that I will remember. Out of my years in Formula 1, this is going to be one of the special ones, coming back to the sport and getting my first pole position. It’s still just amazing that we, such a small little team, are able to pull-off these kinds of results. Not only scoring points and fighting with much bigger teams but also getting a pole position. I think the team has to work much harder than other teams, and I have a lot of respect for that".
Not as good was Mick Schumacher's championship. The final round of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship brings the paddock to the picturesque Yas Island, for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As well as celebrating the end of the season, it’s also a fitting place to look back over the past 21 races - what have been your standout moments and takeaways from your second year in the sport?
"Don’t stop believing in yourself and prove them wrong (PTW). Formula 1 is my life, I love every single moment of it - and the learnings and tough times - that’s all a part of it and it’s just a matter of how you go about it and cope with it. That’s when you know if you’re made out for this sport or not".
A track with a 1.2km straight between Turns 5 and 6 and an array of slow-speed corners always makes for an exciting race. Is this a track you like and do you think there’s a good chance of points to close out the season?
"Abu Dhabi generally has always been a tough place for us so it’s hard to predict how it will be this year with the new regulations and the new car. Nonetheless I’m excited for it, it’s a fun race and driving into that sunset is always spectacular. It’s a beautiful place, it’s as simple as that".
With development of the VF-23 now in full focus, how would you rate this season’s challenger in overall performance and where do you think changes need to be made to be fighting in the top-half of the midfield consistently next season?
"The performance we had at the start of the year was incredible and we were fortunate with the step we made from the previous year. Obviously, things got a bit tougher, but the car has been able to perform at great levels even without big upgrades. Other teams have brought upgrades to a lot of races and that’s different to our approach but I’m sure the team has been working hard on the new car for next year and I’m sure they’ll do a great job".
Before we close the book on another 22-race season - is there anything you want to say to the hardworking team - both at track and back at base - as well as the fans who’ve supported Haas F1 Team through a re-emergence in form ready for the future?
"It’s been a hell of a ride, I’ve enjoyed every single second of it and it’s been great to work with so many great people. I know some people have left along the way but I’m very grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me. The fans have been super supportive all year round and it’s just been a real pleasure in that sense. Bring on 2023".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo Team Principal, speaking about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix says:
"A long and intense season of racing comes to an end this weekend in Abu Dhabi: it’s been a year of fundamental changes for our team, with both new regulations and a new driver line-up. It seems just yesterday that we were starting our 2022 campaign strongly with a double points finish in Bahrain, and now we head back to the Middle East for the final chapter of the season. Over the course of 22 races, there have been several highs and a few lows, and I can consider myself pleased with the job that has been done. It’s been a big effort for everyone in the team, both trackside and back at base, but now the finish line is in sight. The performances we have been showing over the last few races gave us a great confidence boost, and the points we brought home have been a vital reward in our quest to clinch the sixth place in the championship. Our job is not done yet: if we keep up with the momentum and the good pace we had in Brazil, we can again get in the mix with the midfield and secure the position we want in the standings".
For Valtteri Bottas, a special season comes to a close:
"The 2022 season wraps up in Abu Dhabi: it’s been a busy year, and I am glad to be getting some well-deserved time off with my family and friends soon. My first year with the team has been really good, with a strong start and a slightly more challenging second part of the season, but overall above expectations. I am glad to have started this journey with the team and I am confident about the future. The points we scored in recent races recently gave us a further advantage on our closest championship rivals, but we still have a job to finish: we showed strong pace last week in Brazil, which lets us head to Abu Dhabi with confidence. I quite enjoy this track, where I finished on the podium twice in the recent years and won in 2017; we have one more chance to do well this weekend, both for us and the team back at base in Hinwil, and we’ll do our best to nail that and finish our season on a high. Carrying this momentum into the winter would be the best way to head into the break".
Equally good was Zhou Guanyu's first season in Formula 1:
"My rookie season is coming to an end this week, and in some ways, it feels like the whole 12 months just flew by. What a year it has been! It’s safe to say I grew a lot over the course of the year, both as a driver and as a person, and I’m just looking forward to seeing what more we can achieve with the team next year. The team made me feel at home from the start and everyone, starting from Fred, the engineering team and Valtteri but including everyone trackside and in Hinwil, has played a big role in making me grow race after race. I’ve enjoyed this journey so far and I am keen to have one final good result this year to repay the team of this first season together. I have quite enjoyed racing in Abu Dhabi in the past, having also been on the podium a couple of times in Formula 2. Our pace in Brazil was strong, and it was a bit of a shame not having managed to fully take advantage of that, but I am heading into the final race weekend of the year feeling motivated to give it all out there and help the team closing the deal on sixth place in the championship".
Riccardo Adami, Race Engineer Carlos Sainz car, tell us about your passion for motorsport and the path that brought you to Scuderia Ferrari:
"It all started during my studies at university, I realized I was really passionate about the technical aspects of motorsport. I found that I loved learning about all the aspects of this fantastic world. It was then easy for me to decide to progress from there, partially by luck, to F1 and finally to Ferrari, having a lot of fun in doing what I’m doing".
This weekend we race at Abu Dhabi. Which kind of track is Yas Marina? What will it involve for you, engineering two drivers, starting with Robert and the switching to Carlos?
"The track was quite radically changed last year, making it faster and with more overtaking opportunities. It’s now even more challenging in terms of understanding tyre behaviour and the wing level choices. Having Robert in FP1 will be interesting, as it’s always nice to see the enthusiasm and the approach of a young driver to F1. We’ll give him the best opportunity to learn, understand and to test few important things that will be useful for Carlos and Charles during the rest of the weekend and for next year’s car development".
This is Sebastian Vettel’s last race. You worked with him at Scuderia Toro Rosso and again during the six years he spent at Ferrari. What are your best memories on the track with him, and what was the legacy he left that you can see today in the team’s processes?
"There are a huge number of great memories with Seb both on and off the track. It’s difficult to pick just a few! I definitely remember his first epic win in Monza 2008 (with a Ferrari engine). The first unexpected win with Scuderia Ferrari in Malaysia 2015 at his second race with the team. The many wins and podiums in both 2017 and 2018 when, with a slower car, we were able to challenge the dominant team (Mercedes) for the title right to the very end of those seasons. Seb has brought quite a lot to the team in term of methodologies, attention to detail, he was pushing for improvements at all levels. We put a lot of effort into developing the simulator and it’s now a much better tool that it was back then".
On Friday, November 19, 2022, Abu Dhabi’s weekend starts in clear weather conditions and ideal temperatures for the free practice sessions, where all eyes are on the fight between Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel’s last race and, today, a large number of rookies testing Formula 1 cars in FP1. In today’s news, Formula 1 introduces a new racing category that will be placed below F3: that is Formula 1 Academy, which will be reserved to young female drivers. After the brief experience of W Series, ended few months before planned due to financial issues, this series seeks to find young women that will have the chance to confront with each other in equal machinery, divided into five teams with three drivers for each, and to fight for a future seat in higher categories. The schedule is set to include seven rounds, each with three races, including at least one weekend shared with the Formula 1 calendar, and the drivers will have fifteen days in order to test their cars. Formula 1 will subsidise each car with a budget of € 150.000 while the drivers cover the same amount of costs with the teams covering the rest of the budget. The single-seaters used will feature a Tatuus F421 chassis, with 165-horsepower turbocharged engines and tyres provided by Pirelli. Back to the Formula 1 circus, the main rumour of the day is that Daniel Ricciardo is set to come back to Red Bull as third driver, as announced by Helmut Marko to German TV. Later in the day, this announcement has been withdrawn, since it has not been officially confirmed yet. We are now at the start of FP1. Lewis Hamilton leads the Mercedes 1-2, with a best lap of 1'26"633, in a session full of rookies and reserve drivers. George Russell is second, two tenths behind. New Zealander Liam Lawson takes #1’s car and closes the session surprisingly in fifth place, two tenths behind teammate Perez; he sets few very good laps on hard tyres and encounters an issue only while he enters the pits, due to a habit taken by driving in Formula 2.
Sebastian Vettel, while his father supports him in Aston Martin’s box, closes his last FP1 session of his career in sixth place, highlighting the growth of Aston Martin in this last phase of the season. Robert Schwartzman, who takes Sainz’ place, places his Ferrari seventh, while Ricciardo, Bottas and Albon round up the top ten. IndyCar star Pato O’Ward encounters issues with his McLaren in the first laps, but at the end of the session manages to complete 22 laps in his first appearance in an official Formula 1 session. Logan Sargeant adds another crucial extra point to his super-licence, with over 100 km raced in this session, making him closer to his call as second driver in Williams - the only free seat left after Nico Hülkenberg was announced to replace Mick Schumacher at Haas. After setting third time with soft tyres at the beginning of the session, he spins after a sudden lock but manages to preserve the car from damage, and only a yellow flag is issued after this incident. As of the other reserve drivers in this session, Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) sets the 14th time, while Fittipaldi (Haas), O’Ward (McLaren), Doohan (Williams) and Drugovich (Aston Martin) are at the bottom of the grid, closing respectively P17, P18, P19 and P20. Later, during FP2, Verstappen, who takes back his car, sets the fastest lap in this session with the time of 1’25”146, in which he has dominated from start to finish. George Russell is second, three tenths behind, and Leclerc is third, four tenths slower. It has to be reminded that FP2, which is held at sunset, is more relevant for evaluating the set times since the air and track temperature is closer to the one in qualifying and the race, as these two sessions are set in the night time. While FP1 is more focused on trying different sets and analysing the performance of the rookies, FP2, in which all regular drivers come back to their cars, is crucial for studying the race pace on different tyres. Mercedes and Red Bull close the session with a pretty positive race pace, while Ferrari seem to struggle. Leclerc at one point even asks his team:
"Why are we slow?"
The answer from the pit wall is that, compared to their rivals, Ferrari’s pace is inferior.
"Our pace is not great at the moment".
Daniel Ricciardo only runs around for 14 laps, since he reports issues while stopping on his marks in the pit lane due to a “slippery patch” of concrete, then he is stopped by an oil leak. Anyway, he manages to set the ninth time, behind Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso on Alpine, and beating his teammate Lando Norris, who has fully recovered from his illness during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas closes the top ten. After the two sessions, Max Verstappen seems happy with the work done:
"I’m really happy with how that session went, I think the car came together well. Liam did a really good job in FP1, he was calm and steady which is exactly what we needed. In FP2 we tried a few things and in the long runs the car was working quite well, so I’m pretty happy with that. Weather wise, the temperature in FP2 was more representative of what it will be like during qualifying. Of course, we’ll always try to refine a few things overnight, but we should be competitive in quali and the race".
His teammate Sergio Perez explains that there is still work done but the premises are positive:
"The car was good today. It was a very interesting two sessions, very different in the morning to the afternoon. This morning was a bit tricky with the temperatures, which means the afternoon session is the one we really have to pay attention to, because it will be the most representative for the weekend. We are just exploring the balance around the car but generally, we feel we have plenty of information for tomorrow and more importantly, for Sunday. We are competitive in the long-runs but we have a bit of time to find in the short runs. There are a few bits to analyse to see where we can do better, it is very important here to have great race pace here".
Red Bull’s reserve driver Liam Lawson opens up about his debut in Formula 1, which seems pretty exciting:
"It was a really cool experience today, it’s the first time I’ve tested for Oracle Red Bull Racing during a Formula One weekend. I was a little bit nervous before the session, but the car is really good so I felt comfortable straight away. We managed to get quite a lot of laps in on both the hards and the softs, at the moment there’s a big jump between the two tyre types. It was great to get the opportunity to try out the softs. I drove the AlphaTauri in Mexico but it’s difficult to compare the two as Mexico is a completely different track and at a much higher altitude. Today was a great day and I'm thankful for the opportunity".
About Mercedes, George Russell seems quite satisfied about this free practice and is hopeful for the next season:
"We had a very strong day in terms of what we've learned, given this is one of the last opportunities to gain learnings for the next season. With the test items that we ran during FP1, especially on my side of the garage, I'm looking forward to 2023 with what we've learned today. For FP2, the track changed completely with the temperature drop. The car felt fast, but I think Red Bull are ahead of us in terms of single lap pace and maybe even more so in the long runs. So, we have some work to do overnight, but compared to Ferrari our performance from what we can tell so far looks reasonable for this weekend. I'd like to think we'll be able to fight for the top 3 in qualifying tomorrow and see where that can take us on Sunday. We will keep our heads down and put in the work overnight".
Lewis Hamilton, instead, has mixed feelings, but overall positive:
"FP1 felt good today, which is a positive outlook for next year. In FP2, the car balance was a bit off, following some set-up changes between the sessions, so we will need to make some updates overnight but otherwise, we're relatively competitive. Tyre management for qualifying tomorrow will be tough, in FP1 you could do a slow run to get the tyres working and in FP2 it took much longer to get them in the right window, so it's a little bit like rolling a dice. We hope we can be competitive with our race pace this weekend, but still need to understand better where we are compared to the other teams. We will work hard overnight and hopefully we can be in the fight for the front. A big thank you to everyone in the factory and here at the track who have put in so much dedication and hard work to throughout the year".
Mercedes’ engineer Andrew Shovlin admits that it is going to be an eventful weekend for the team:
"It's been a busy day. We had quite a few test items squeezed into the first session, which meant we didn't have quite the normal focus on race preparation. That work shifted to the afternoon session and whilst we had a straightforward time in terms of reliability, we're lacking a little pace both single lap and long run. Unusually, the degradation looked higher than for our competitors, so we'll dig into that to work out what is causing it; that's our biggest concern right now. Clearly a bit to do, but the gaps don't look massive so hopefully we can put ourselves in contention if we can find a few small steps in the right direction".
Ferrari drivers seem quite pessimistic, but not everything is lost. Charles Leclerc looks to the bright side:
"Overall, our sessions were ok. We struggled a bit with the race pace due to tyre degradation, which was expected. Our qualifying pace was a little better, but our competitors seem to be a step ahead. We will use tomorrow’s practice to make further progress and give it our all for the last qualifying of the year".
Carlos Sainz, who only joined FP2, feels that there is a lot of work to be done:
"It was a very busy FP2 for me after missing the first session, so it was all about catching up and getting into the rhythm as soon as possible. The feeling on track wasn’t too bad but I know we’ve got plenty of margin to improve tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the last qualifying of the year".
Ferrari’s reserve driver Robert Shwartzman seems happy about his session and look forward to 2023 tests:
"Today’s practice was good and I’m happy with the progress that I made. Ending the session in P7 felt good, I felt comfortable in the car and we ran through the planned programme without any issues. We started the practice with some development testing and the team was satisfied with the data we collected. I look forward to being back in the car on Tuesday for a full day of testing, where my target is to make further improvements and gain more valuable experience in this generation of car. Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for this great opportunity".
About Alpine, currently fourth in the Constructors’ championship, Esteban Ocon seems positive about the free practice but knows that an improvement has to be done in qualifying:
"It's always a pleasure to drive under the lights in Abu Dhabi, and the last Friday of the season was a solid one for us. There were some good overall improvements from FP1 to FP2, and we gained a good understanding of the soft and medium tyres in both sessions. It was a positive day overall but it's only Practice and we'll need to be at our best tomorrow to have a good result in Qualifying. It's not the easiest track on the calendar for overtaking so we'll need to work hard tonight to ensure we're in a good position ahead of the last Qualifying session of the year".
His teammate Fernando Alonso, in his last race with the French team, also hopes for a better Saturday:
"It's the last Friday of the year and there was obviously a little less Practice time for me today than normal, after Jack [Doohan] took over in Free Practice 1. I was more or less up to speed straight away and adapted to the car in the evening session and we completed our programme smoothly. However, the balance still needs a little bit of work so that we can have a comfortable car for tomorrow in Qualifying. Every day feels like a last day, so I'm trying to enjoy every moment with the team".
Matt Harman, Alpine’s Chassis Technical Director, shares some technical details of the teams’ work.
"Overall, it's been a relatively smooth day for us on-track in the final Friday Practice of the year. It was great to have Jack back in the car for the first session. He did a great job on two sets of soft tyres and we look forward to seeing him behind the wheel again on Tuesday. For FP2, we ran a fairly conventional session in preparation for the rest of the weekend. We still have more work ahead of us, but I'd like to extend a message of thanks to all the engineering teams at Viry and Enstone for their hard work this season in developing a completely new car. I've been proud of everyone's efforts and look forward to seeing what we can achieve on car development in 2023".
McLaren’s Friday has been eventful, but Lando Norris does not give up:
"A reasonable day. Having swapped out for Pato in FP1 I was playing a bit of catch-up and I'm still a little bit behind, but I think we made a decent start to the weekend. We'll make some tweaks overnight and try to take a step forward tomorrow".
Daniel Ricciardo, in his last race with the Woking-based team, complains about few issues but is still confident about the car:
"That was good fun. We had a little bit of a limit on running due to managing an oil leak but still had a pretty good day, we were fairly competitive. Just a few more things to find for tomorrow, but I think we're in a good spot".
Reserve driver Pato O'Ward is happy with the tests made during the session:
"It was a really enjoyable experience today. We got a few curveballs thrown at us, which made things a little bit more challenging and obviously a lot of information that isn't part of driving the car that I had to digest - but all-in-all I felt it was a successful first FP1. I got a lot of tests done for the team and hope those will be a good help for them for this weekend. For me, every lap I get in the car I think I make progress. so hopefully I get another shot next year and just keep improving".
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Executive Director, is especially happy for O’Ward’s session:
"We have had a productive day at the Yas Marina Circuit. There were a couple of glitches that affected our programme but we are happy with the data we gathered. We learnt about the car, some aerodynamic development items we were testing, and gathered good information on tyres. We've also had Pato at the wheel for his first FP1 session and first run in the MCL36. He showed excellent control and gave us exactly what we asked for, so well done Pato. Our job now is to use the data we've gathered today and prepare as well as possible for tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. We want to finish the 2022 season on a high".
In Aston Martin, the main protagonist of the weekend, Sebastian Vettel, feels that it is a normal day after all.
"It has been like many other Fridays, to be honest! Once you drive out of the garage, you get into the rhythm and try and get in the groove with the car which did not take long this afternoon. It was the same again this evening with how the track changes here when the sun sets. It does feel a bit funny that it is the last Friday, however. All in all, a productive day with plenty of laps. We will see what we can do overnight and how we can improve ahead of tomorrow".
His teammate Lance Stroll is happy about Drugovich’s job:
"We completed some good laps in FP2 this evening after making way for Felipe earlier in the day. He did a really good job in FP1. We have some ideas that we want to think about overnight based on the data we have gathered today. It looks like it will be tight against our competitors again here, just as it has been all season. To beat them, we will need to maximise everything we can across the rest of the weekend".
Felipe Drugovich, 2022 Formula 2 World Champion, is excited about his experience in Formula 1 and believes that the session went well:
"It was a really good FP1 session today. We kept to the run plan: we wanted to try a few things with the car early on and it felt pretty good out there. After that, I also had a soft tyre run which was nice. It was my first laps with the AMR22 and my first proper dry laps in a Formula One car and I really enjoyed it. Now, I look forward to working with the team again in the post-season test on Tuesday".
In Alfa Romeo, Valtteri Bottas reveals that it has been a pretty positive day with a well-balanced car:
"We had a good start of the weekend: a smooth day without issues, in which we could do all the laps and all the tests we had planned. The car balance felt good from the start, so we didn’t have to do big changes: we just focused on fine-tuning the car, especially in the second session as conditions were a lot closer to what we’ll have in qualifying tomorrow. I finished both sessions in the top ten, which is definitely a promising start: on the back of the last couple of races, where we were quite strong, it’s a good sign and hopefully we can keep this momentum going".
His teammate Zhou Guanyu is also confident that it is going to be a great weekend:
"I am quite pleased with the day: FP2 was my first time on track here with the C42, and the car felt good right away, so it didn’t take me more than a couple of laps to find the rhythm on track. I felt quite comfortable in the short runs, and we also did a few long runs to identify any areas to tweak ahead of tomorrow. I am confident about our qualifying pace, and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t get the best out of the car and place ourselves in a good position on the grid. The upgrades we have introduced in the last few rounds keep making our car better, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow".
Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver Robert Kubica does not hide his excitement in coming back into a Formula 1 car and compares this experience to the one in endurance racing:
"It’s always nice to drive this car and I’m very pleased about my performance, especially as the last time I was in the C42 was back in Hungary. I was driving LMP2 cars last week and there’s always some getting used to with a different car, but it all went surprisingly well, especially with the hard tyres. In the end, in an FP1 you only have a single lap to nail it, that’s the challenge of this session. I had a good feeling with the car, and we figured out quickly where to improve. It was a productive day and it gives us confidence for the rest of the weekend".
About Haas, Kevin Magnussen is fairly disappointed but still confident about the rest of the weekend:
"I don’t think we had the pace today that we did last weekend, but you know it’s only Friday, we can still find it in the car and hopefully be better tomorrow. It’s all about the long run anyway, we want to qualify well but the important fight is on Sunday, so the focus is getting the car in the right window for that. You might always see surprises but we’re trying to prepare as well as we can for qualifying and the race and we’ll see what happens".
Mick Schumacher seems also unhappy after this Friday, hoping for a better qualifying:
"I didn’t do FP1, I only drove in FP2 so it was good to get to know this car on this track - it felt interesting. I think we were a bit slower than what we would’ve hoped for but we have some time now to look at it and analyze what we need to change to be a bit more competitive tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll be able to get out of Q1 and be competing in Q2".
Haas’s reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi reveals that he is pretty comfortable with Formula 1 cars and that he did a positive job in this session.
"I always adapt super quick with this Formula 1 car. I think the style of driving with this Formula 1 car is kind of my strong point because I always brake late, I’m very confident and really aggressive. We had a great run where we completed all the laps and were quick as well. The most important thing is to execute all the things I need to with the team, learn as much as I can, but then as well show performance and that’s what I want to do - show the team what I can do".
Guenther Steiner, Haas’s Team Principal, admits that it has not been an ideal day but is happy with Fittipaldi’s session.
"It wasn’t the easiest day today with damage in both sessions to the floor of Kevin’s car. Pietro did a good job this morning because the last FP1 he did he didn’t get many laps in, only nine of them. This morning was a lot more productive and I think it’s good for him to be in the car to be ready for the test on Tuesday. Mick got back in for the afternoon, and he just needed a few laps to get used to the track and then he came back with a good performance. Kevin’s fast lap was compromised by floor damage and traffic but I think we can do better than we did today and we look forward to tomorrow".
In AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly admits that it has been a difficult session and there is a lot of work to be done to chase the teams ahead.
"It was tough out there today, but we will make the necessary changes to be able to give our best tomorrow in Quali. The top 10 are quite impressive in terms of speed here and I'd say we were still quite far off this pace. However, anything can happen, and we will push until the very end".
Yuki Tsunoda is also unhappy about this Friday but is hopeful for the long-run pace.
"I struggled a lot with the balance in FP1. It was a bit of an unusual session, as there were a lot of young drivers on track, and whilst P13 doesn't look that great on paper, it was further up the time sheet than we would've been in a normal session. Heading into FP2, I felt that the balance had improved, and I was more comfortable in the car, but we're still missing a lot of performance. We've got quite a bit of work to do tonight to be able to score points this weekend, but we've still got another practice session to go. We'll try to fine-tune things ahead of Qualifying, and then our long-run pace looked ok today, so hopefully we'll be stronger during the race".
Jonathan Eddolls, AlphaTauri’s Chief Race Engineer, shares some technical details about the session and analyses the situation of both drivers.
"Due to the change in track temperature between FP1 and FP2, the majority of balance tuning and tyre understanding takes place in P2, so that the conditions are as closely matched to Quali and the race as possible. Therefore, FP1 is more about getting the drivers into the rhythm, forming a broad understanding of where the balance of the car is and checking stabilised temperatures. We also took the opportunity to complete some aero tests, to help the development of next year's car. Both cars had different balance issues in FP1. Pierre was more rear limited and Yuki struggled with the front, so we migrated towards a middle ground with the two cars for FP2. Yuki had a clear session, although the balance on the Softs was still not perfect, but Pierre got heavy traffic on both his soft compound laps, so failed to improve over his medium tyre lap time. Even without traffic, he wasn't happy with the general grip, so we have some work to do overnight. The long run pace we showed was ok, however we had quite high degradation, despite the track cooling track temperature, so we will need to review the results from this session to form the optimum strategy for Sunday".
Dave Robson, Williams’s Head of Vehicle Performance, states that the free practices have been overall positive.
"We had a solid day preparing for the key sessions tomorrow and on Sunday. As always here, the track conditions change significantly between FP1 and FP2, but we dealt with this reasonably well. There is a bit more work to do to improve the tyre conditions in the cooler conditions, but we will work on this tonight and will be in a good position by qualifying. Despite a spin when braking on the kerbs, Logan completed another good Free Practice session and showed some strong pace on both compounds. He will drive the FW44 again on Tuesday as part of the post-season test day. Nicholas had a good FP2 and was quickly up to speed despite missing FP1. Alex was strong in both sessions and was able to complete some useful setup work, which we will analyse in detail tonight. FP3 will be another tricky session due to the high track temperature but we'll still be able to use that session to finalise our preparation for qualifying and the race".
Alex Albon confirms Robson’s positive feelings.
"I feel like we have a competitive car this weekend compared to the last few races. The car is responding well to these kinds of track temperatures, and we always seem to do better in the dark than in the day. The long runs are not looking bad either, so overall a pretty decent Friday".
Nicholas Latifi is confident that his car will improve.
"Back on track for FP2 which was a fairly standard session after sitting out of FP1. The grip felt higher than expected but there's still some time to find from my side. Hopefully we can make a good step forward tomorrow as I get more up to speed and dialled in".
Logan Sargeant is excited about this last test and looks forwards to the last Formula 2 race of the season.
"I'm really happy to complete my fourth and final Free Practice session with Williams this season. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident in the car since my very first lap in Austin. A massive thanks to everyone in the team for the support they've given me. I look forward to being back behind the wheel of the FW44 for the Young Driver Test in a few days. My full focus is on finishing the final Sprint and Feature races of my F2 season on a high note".
As of the weekend’s tyres, Pirelli Chief Engineer Simone Berra reveals the possible strategies used by the teams on Sunday.
"Today's sessions were characterised by high track evolution, which allowed for faster lap times as the evening descended and track temperatures fell significantly. We have noticed more degradation across all the compounds than in previous years, which opens up new scenarios with regards to race strategy. In fact, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has almost always suited a one-stop strategy; this year, we could see teams adopting a two-stop approach. The tyre with the highest wear rate at Yas Marina is the front right, due to the anti-clockwise layout and circuit characteristics. The front axle was the most limiting factor in terms of degradation; to manage the graining encountered today on the softer compounds, the teams could decide to use a combination of C3 (hard) and C4 (medium) compounds on Sunday".
It is Saturday, November 19, so it is time for FP3. The temperatures are high, with an air temperature of 30 °C and track temperature of 46 °C. The two Aston Martins are the first cars on track with new hard tyres, but after a slow lap both drivers get back to the pits to mount the medium tyres. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are now on track, running with a view of the race pace on medium tyres, after the bad performaces during FP2. Sainz is the first to close a lap, in 1'27"821., while Mick Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on new softs are out on track. Leclerc records the best time in 1'27"314, after complaining about a bit of bottoming. Hamilton ends his lap in 1'26"040, followed by Russell with less than half of a second of detachment. The two Red Bulls are still in the pits. Lando Norris has problems due to a front-right brake fire and Sebastian Vettel reports a similar problem a few minutes later. Sergio Perez starts on mediums and places himself in the seventh position. The two Mercedes are again on track, on softs, while the two Alpines get good times on mediums: Alonso is third and Ocon fourth. Despite the traffic in the second sector, Sergio Perez takes the lead in 1'25"861. Pierre Gasly loses a piece of carbonium on the third sector of the track, triggering a red flag. During this time frame, Lewis Hamilton does not slow as he should and also passes the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, but fortunately he is not then awarded with a penalty. When the race is resumed, Hamilton takes the lead in 1'25"824, but George Russell immediately gets first in 1'25"395. Sergio Perez then goes first in 1'24"982, ahead of the two Mercedes cars. Then, 15 minutes to the end, the Mexican driver mounts the soft tyres for his qualifying simulation, consolidating the first position with 1'24"982.
Max Verstappen ends with a gap of 0.152 seconds from his team mate, because of running wide at Turns 5 and 16. Lewis Hamilton finishes the practice session third with a time of 1'25"222., over two tenths off the pace, with Russell another two tenths off in fourth place with a time of 1'25"395. Lando Norris finishes fifth with a time of 1'25"518., his team mate Daniel Ricciardo eighth in 1'25"950., while Vettel is ninth in 1'26"012. During the very last minutes of the session they simulate the qualifying with the softs and end respectively in sixth (1'25"571) and seventh position (1'25"605), behind Lando Norris’ McLaren and with six tenth of detachment from Perez. Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel and Alexander Albon close the top ten. It is Saturday, November 19, so it is time for qualifying at Yas Marina. Abu Dhabi. During the FP2, on Friday evening, it was Max Verstappen to take the first place with soft tyres, ahead of Russell’s Mercedes and Leclerc’s Ferrari. Now, at the circuit there are similar weather condition to those of the evening before, so without surprise, at the start of Q1 Max Verstappen sets the fastest time with 1'24"754., over half a tenth ahead of team mate Sergio Perez and three-tenths up on the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The Mercedes duo made up by Russell and Hamilton does its best during the second attempt, together with Lando Norris in his McLaren, while Max Verstappen has some problems with his headrest: I think it’s broken he says on the radio to the Red Bull pit wall and asks to control it. Near to the end of Q1, there are no changes in the timesheets: Verstappen goes back to the pits and does not complete his second attempt, but remain first, ahead of Perez, Sainz and Leclerc, and Norris. Bad for Sebastian Vettel, who is in the drop zone at risk of Q1 elimination in his last qualifying, but he runs a good final lap and goes sixth, ahead of the Mercedes cars of Russell and Hamilton, while Zhou and Tsunoda complete the top ten. Mick Schumacher manages to get into Q2 in eleventh position, followed by Ocon, Stroll and Ricciardo. After the pole conquered at Interlagos, Magnussen is now eliminated in Q1, together with Gasly, Bottas, whose tyres didn’t work, as he says to his team, and the Williams duo Albon and Latifi. Kevin Magnussen explains what blocked him to get into Q2:
"It seemed like we did take a step forward from FP2 to qualifying, but the traffic at the end meant we had to stop in the last sector for close to half a minute before starting our lap, so that killed it and you start your lap on cold tires. It’s so tight that even one tenth would’ve got me close to the top 10. That’s a bummer, that’s what we got right last week but today we didn’t manage to do the same. It’s very tight so I think it’s going to be more about tire management and strategy tomorrow".
Pierre Gasly expected this result, as the team had difficulties with the car’s setup:
"We have been playing catch-up all weekend as we've had difficulties setting up the car. Today we made a small step forward, but it wasn't enough. The car was sliding around in the low-speed corners and was still not the way I wanted it. Qualifying was like rush-hour in London, but I think it was the same for everyone. Tomorrow will be a long and difficult race, but there will be plenty of opportunities to make up some ground. Tomorrow will be the last time that I am dressed as a Scuderia AlphaTauri driver, so it is definitely an emotional and special weekend for myself and all the team. I have spent so much time with them over the last five years and I will remember those memories forever, so it is time to give it one final push".
Valtteri Bottas thinks he had a good pace, but the problem was in the tyres:
"We went into qualifying knowing we had good pace, so I believe today’s result doesn’t really reflect where our car actually is. It was a strange feeling, we just couldn’t get the tyres to work in our outlap and, as a result, our sector one pace suffered. This was especially so on my second run - there was so much traffic at the end of the outlap, I had to pretty much stop and that destroyed our attempt. It’s frustrating, of course, but now we need to prepare in the best possible way for tomorrow’s race".
Alex Albon complains about the traffic on track:
"After FP3 we were feeling confident and the car was looking good, however as the track temperature drops down, outlaps need to be faster to compensate for the drop and we were in a lot of traffic and not able to get a clear outlap. I overtook seven or eight cars on the outlap and I was still not ready for Turn 1, however after Turn 6 I was happy with my lap but I lost so much time in the first half trying to get the tyres up to temperature and it wasn't enough when the margins are so small but I think we would've got into Q2 had it not been for that. Fortunately, it's not a situation where we're scratching our heads wondering why there's no grip, it's more that we didn't really have the chance to do what we needed to. When we're in traffic it makes it complicated so it's a bit frustrating but we'll look to tomorrow".
Nicholas Latifi is happy with his fast lap:
"I'm pretty happy with the last lap in Qualifying. It wasn't the perfect lap, but it was clean. We just didn't have the pace today. I made sure to use all the tyres I had and left nothing on the rack. It's not where I want to be in my last Qualifying session, but I'm satisfied. I think the main difficulty was trying to find the right space for the outlaps. Tomorrow will be difficult but it's my last race and I'll be trying to enjoy it as much as possible".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, is not satisfied about today:
"Qualifying was a frustrating session, which we didn't execute as well as we needed to. We knew how to get a good lap out of the car, but we didn't give Alex a good chance to achieve it as he had too much traffic on his final outlap. Although Nicholas had an easier outlap, he was still a little compromised and the margins are so fine that, whilst he drove well, he was unable to progress. After the good work of the last few days, this was a disappointing day, but we now need to look to tomorrow".
Q2 starts and the Red Bull is still leading the ranking, with Sergio Perez taking the first place as he is three-tenths ahead of Verstappen, with 1'24"419. Ferrari did not start well, as they seem to have not the pace, but both drivers manage to do their best, while Q2 is about to end, placing second and third with Leclerc and Sainz respectively: the two are separated by just 0.004 seconds. Max Verstappen is now fourth, a tenth further back. Hamilton is confused by Mercedes’s 0.355 seconds’ gap to the drivers in the top places; he is fifth, with Norris who manages to do better than Russell taking the sixth position. Vettel runs another wonderful lap at the end of Q2 taking the eighth position despite frustrations over traffic, with Ocon and Ricciardo completing the top ten. Alonso does not manage to join his team mate Ocon in Q3, in his last qualyfing with Alpine, and gets in eleventh position. Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher, Stroll and Zhou are the other drivers whose qualifying ends in Q2. Fernando Alonso will try to do his best on Sunday:
"We didn't quite have the pace in Qualifying today, so in the end, I think we can be quite happy to be starting tenth for the race. It was close in Q1 and less than a tenth separated a number of cars in Q2. We know it will be difficult to overtake tomorrow, but we'll try our best to have some fun and gain some places inside the top ten. It's the last time I will jump in the car with Alpine, so I will be looking to make the most of the race tomorrow and hopefully end on a high with the team".
Yuki Tsunoda is overall happy with today:
"I'm pretty happy with today, I made a bit of a mistake in Turn 6 on my final lap in Q2 but overall, I'm pleased with how it went, and the extra performance we were able to show in Quali. I really like the track here, it was my best placed finish last year with 4th, and we're starting just outside the points tomorrow, so hopefully something good can happen again. Obviously, we know it's going to be difficult, but our long-run pace was looking quite good yesterday, so I think there's a possibility to move ourselves forward tomorrow and score some all-important points, to allow us to finish the season in P8".
Jody Egginton analyzes the session:
"We made a reasonable number of small adjustments to various parts of the set-up and tool settings overnight, in order to improve turn-in stability and mid-corner rotation, amongst other things. In FP3, Yuki reported some improvements, however Pierre had a front-right puncture on his first run, which limited running, and meant it was not possible to get a clear read on balance. Qualifying saw good progression from Yuki, making the cut for Q2 relatively easily, whilst Pierre's struggled a bit more on his final run and did not make it through on this occasion. In Q2, Yuki continued where he left off, putting a good lap on both his used and new tyre sets, but fell just short of Q3 finishing P12 in a very tight midfield. Looking ahead to tomorrow's race, tyre degradation has shown some signs of being higher than last year, so we need to keep an eye on this and be ready to take our chances to hopefully achieve the target of improving our Constructors' Championship position".
Mick Schumacher thinks that his Q1 went better than Q2:
"Q1 didn’t look too bad and Q2 was ok, actually. We felt like we were in a good position and it was less than two tenths to getting through to Q3 which was very unexpected to be this close. We’ll happily take it and move forward now to the race. We’re quite close to the points and we have AlphaTauri quite close as well so hopefully we’ll get them at the start, and we’ll be able to manage the race from there. It will be crucial for us to stay in front of them so that’s what we’ll focus on".
Guenther Steiner, Haas‘ Team Principal, is hopeful about the possibility of scoring points during the race:
"It wasn’t a bad qualifying session today, pretty happy. Kevin got into traffic a little bit and his tires weren’t working, so he couldn’t out of Q1. Mick did a very good job getting into Q2 and got a good result out of it. Starting tomorrow in P12 and P16 puts us in a position where we can score points".
Lance Stroll compliments with Vettel for his last qualifying and hopes to do better tomorrow:
"I was happy with my final lap in Q2: it was good and clean, but we just lacked a little bit of speed to Sebastian, who has had a really good day in his final qualifying. Crucially, we have qualified ahead of both Alfa Romeos and the car has been behaving really well this weekend. We will look to move forward into the points. It will be a long race and we have lots to fight for tomorrow".
Zhou Guanyu admits he did not have the pace:
"I feel I got as much as I could out of the car tonight, as my qualifying performance was alright: unfortunately, we weren’t close enough in terms of pace to be a little further up the grid. Yesterday, everything was working fairly well, while today has been more difficult. We struggled a bit during FP3 earlier today, and even though it seemed like we got our pace back in the afternoon, I don’t think we quite had the speed to fight for Q3. We definitely hoped for more, but nevertheless as the midfield was pretty close during Q1, we will hopefully be able to move further up to deliver the results we worked so hard for".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, conludes:
"We looked a lot better ahead of tonight, so it is disappointing not to have a car in Q3. We struggled to get our tyres to work for a single lap and we just lacked the pace we would have needed to emerge from such a close midfield. It’s not time to despair, however: there is still a long race ahead of us tomorrow and we’ve demonstrated before that we can make up ground on Sunday. This will be the target for tomorrow: we will give everything until the final corner of the final lap to secure our objective".
It is the start of Q3 and the Red Bulls are again the fastest cars on track. Verstappen runs the first lap in 1'23"988. taking the lead, ahead of Sainz, Perez and Leclerc, while Hamilton, who has brake issues, and Russell are in fifth and sixth position respectively. When the drivers are again out of the pits for their final efforts, Verstappen manages to strengthen his advantage by setting 1'23"824., while Perez is faster than the two Ferraris, and two-tenths from his team mate, so both Red Bulls will start from the front-row. There is half a tenth between Perez and Leclerc, who has Sainz, Hamilton and Russell at his back. The three top teams are in the top six positions, while Norris is in seventh, followed by the Alpine of Ocon, the Aston Martin of Vettel and the second McLaren of Ricciardo. Max Verstappen takes the 20th career pole position, the seventh of the season, for the first time since that obtained in the Mexico City Grand Prix, and equals the number of pole starts in the category achieved by Damon Hill and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull Racing's two-time World Champion Dutch driver reconfirms his pole position for the third consecutive edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after 2020 and 2021, in the latter in which he then won the race, capturing his first world title. Verstappen takes pole position at the Yas Marina circuit for the third consecutive championship for the first time in his career. For the Austrian team, it is the eighth pole position of the season, including the seven achieved by Verstappen and one prerogative of Pérez, the 81st in its history, the first since the Mexico City Grand Prix just with Verstappen, and the sixth overall at the Yas Marina circuit, equaling the German manufacturer Mercedes, and confirming a first-place start for the third year in a row in this Grand Prix, with the engines pushed under a different name, Red Bull Powertrains, abbreviated RBPT, after in the 2021 and 2022 editions the manufacturer was supported by Honda powertrains. For the Milton Keynes-based stable, it is the first one-two in qualifying in light of the second place of the stable's other driver, Pérez, the 25th in total in this session, only the second of the turbo-hybrid era that began in the 2014 season, and the first since the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix. For the Mexican, who secures his fifth front-row start of the season, it is the first career start in the top three positions at the Yas Marina circuit. Leclerc, third, has a gap of only 0.04 seconds to the front row, which would have been Ferrari's first on this track since its debut in the 2009 season, while for Sainz Jr. fourth position represents the best result on this track. Both Ferraris qualified in the top four positions for the first time since the 2019 edition of the race.
Hamilton, fifth, at his worst qualifying result at this Grand Prix in fourteen appearances, does not win a pole start during a championship for the first time in his career, after fifteen seasons in Formula 1 with at least one pole position since his debut in the category in the 2007 season. Russell is sixth, only 0.003 seconds behind teammate Hamilton. For the first time in ten editions of the race, there is no Mercedes in the top three positions. For Norris, seventh, the same position in the drivers' standings, is the worst qualifying result on this track, while Ocon is eighth, as well as in the overall standings. Vettel, in his last career grand prix, is ninth, only the fifth time this season in which he has entered the decisive Q3 stage. The German beats his teammate, Stroll, 13-7 in qualifying. Ricciardo qualified tenth, the same position he started from in the previous edition, but starts thirteenth due to a penalty. For the Australian, it is the best qualifying since the Italian Grand Prix six races ago. Alonso, 11th, fails to get into Q3 for the first time since the Dutch Grand Prix, seven races ago. The Spaniard, saved in Q1 by 0.052 seconds, has not been in Q3 since the 2016 edition. Schumacher, 13th but starting one position ahead in light of Ricciardo's penalty, ends a three-race streak of being eliminated in Q1. The German, for the sixth time during the championship, is not eliminated at this stage, unlike teammate Magnussen, who was in pole position in the previous Sao Paulo Grand Prix but eliminated in Q1 for this event. Zhou is 15th, which testifies to the fact that Alfa Romeo has only achieved a top-10 start at the Yas Marina circuit in the turbo-hybrid era thanks to Leclerc's eighth-place finish in the 2018 edition. For Gasly, seventeenth, it was the seventh Q1 elimination of the championship, beaten by teammate Tsunoda, twelfth, but eleventh on the grid due to Ricciardo's penalty, for the ninth time this season. Bottas, 18th, ends the season with two consecutive eliminations in the first stage after the one in the previous Sao Paulo Grand Prix, while Williams features two cars in the last two places for the third time in the last six races. The driver starting on pole has won the last seven editions of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The first three rows are occupied by drivers from Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and Mercedes. If the top four qualifiers finish in the same positions in the race, Pérez and Ferrari get second place in their respective world rankings. During qualifying, two times are cancelled by the stewards for not respecting the track limits: the two times are those of Alexander Albon and Sergio Pérez, both at Turn 1. Great performance from Max Verstappen, who got the pole in the last qualifying of what has been a wonderful season for him:
"It couldn’t have been better today, the tow worked out well as we managed to lock out the front row. We went out there and did our thing. As a Team we had an almost perfect qualifying and we are very excited for tomorrow, The most important thing is that Checo stays ahead of Charles so we’ll do what we can to make that happen. I do think that our car is quick, there’s a massive question mark around the other teams though and how much long run performance they will have gained overnight. We made a few mistakes in Brazil I guess but we learn from that and we are back where we should be".
Sergio Perez is happy for the team:
"It is a great Team result for everyone back home and here in Abu Dhabi, we are in the best position to finish off the job and get that result tomorrow. It certainly was good teamwork with Max today, it was important to get both cars as high up as possible for the race. My Q1 and Q2 were looking strong, and I was hoping for more, but then Q3 wasn’t ideal, especially our first run. That put us on the back foot a little and in the end, it wasn’t good enough for P1. We have a very long race ahead of us, so we need to finish the job off tomorrow and deliver a massive result for the Team. It will be important to get off the line well and get a strong start to get away from Charles. We are certainly confident going into tomorrow that our race pace is good and we can race harder. We are a lot happier with performance than we were in Brazil. It would be a huge year for us if we are able to get second place in the Drivers’ Championship and make history for the Team. We will work hard and hopefully we can succeed".
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, is satisfied about today and hopes to get the same good result tomorrow:
"It was a great qualifying from the Team, our first front row lockout of the year and first since 2018. We are tremendously happy with the performance as it gives us an opportunity to end our most successful season in the best possible way. Max secured the 20th pole position of his career with a stellar last lap. On top of that, he gave Checo the tow in the second sector to help him secure the second grid slot - locking out the front row for the Team. It was. We couldn't have asked for a better Saturday, but there is still a lot to do. Now we must focus on converting this into the best possible result tomorrow, ensuring 2nd place in the Championship for Checo".
Charles Leclerc talks about the tyres issues he had but is concentrated for the race:
"P3 is the best we could do today. It was quite a tricky qualifying, especially in terms of tyre management, as is usually the case in Abu Dhabi, with the rear tyres overheating in the final sector. With Carlos starting right behind me, we will work together to put pressure on our competitors ahead and aim to finish the season on a high".
Carlos Sainz is satisfied with the car’s setup:
"It was a solid qualifying for the team today as we made a step forward on pace and car setup. I'm not entirely happy with my last attempt in Q3 as the traffic on the out-lap compromised getting everything up to temperature and I didn’t put a great lap together. However, I’m happy with the feeling in the car and I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow. There are still many points to fight for and we’ll push until the end".
Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s Racing Director, compliments the team for their work:
"We’re reasonably pleased with how qualifying went. I think the team has made a step forward since yesterday, when we weren’t completely happy with the car’s handling. Here at the track and back in Maranello, we worked on fine tuning the set-up and on extracting a touch more performance from the car. Out on track, Charles and Carlos gave their best and improved their performance lap by lap, executing this session in a solid way. That resulted in us locking out the second row, with Charles within a whisker of Perez’s time. It’s a decent starting position for tomorrow’s race, but we know Red Bull and Mercedes will have a very strong pace. We can expect a close six-way fight, and tyre management will likely be a key factor again. That could present opportunities and we will try to make the most of them".
Lewis Hamilton is not so satisfied, especially fort he gap to the poleman:
"We came here expecting this to be a difficult one for us but we didn't expect a gap of eight tenths to pole position. We were losing six tenths today on the straights to the top cars. I gave it everything, so it's a bit of a surprising result and just being so far behind Red Bull and Ferrari. Hopefully our race pace tomorrow will be better than our qualifying pace today. There's also some bouncing at this track, which adds to our lack of performance and issues with temperature splits on the brakes which we've experienced throughout the whole season. The whole team is working hard and they're doing an incredible job to fix these issues, especially also for next year. I'm looking to tomorrow and the final race of the season".
George Russell hoped for a little bit more, but is excited for tomorrow:
"We hoped for better lap times during qualifying but should be in a stronger position during the race tomorrow as our long run pace looked competitive from what we've seen so far. The grid position seems fair when you look at our current car performance at a circuit like Abu Dhabi but following the results in Brazil, we were probably hoping for a little bit more. So, we would have liked to be a little bit closer to the front but should be in a better place for the race. Tomorrow will be interesting, as there are lots of different strategy options. I expect Red Bull to be out of reach, but I hope we can chase Ferrari. Let's see what tomorrow brings - we will fight as hard as we can all the way to the finish line".
Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, continues:
"Today didn't go our way unfortunately. We didn't get the job done right and went backwards in terms of our performance, while our competitors made a step forward. We opted for a higher downforce and higher drag setup, and it was just too slow on the straights during the session. We've also had issues with the brakes that we need to investigate. The weekend looked positive for us so far, especially during the earlier sessions but in the end, we didn't deliver when it came down to qualifying. All in all, a disappointing day for the team. We want to be in the front, fighting for victories. Hopefully, our set-up will benefit from the earlier start time of the race tomorrow and the higher temperatures, which seemed to result in better car performance for us so far here in Abu Dhabi".
Andrew Shovlin concludes:
"We had a solid FP3, looking like we were sitting between the Red Bulls and Ferraris on single lap pace so it's disappointing to end up 5th and 6th. Through the weekend it has felt like we are at our best on the hot track and struggling to find the grip in the cooler evening conditions. The decisions we made with the car setup are biased towards race pace, and on a long run everything is running hotter anyway so we're still hopeful that we can have a race where we are looking forwards not backwards, but a third row start for both cars means that we have our work cut out if we are to challenge at the front".
Lando Norris is very happy for the position achieved:
"A good quali. I think I got everything out of the car today, so I'm happy. I struggled a bit, not having enough confidence to push the car, but at the same time, we secured the best position we could. We've got a good starting place, let's convert it into some good points tomorrow".
Daniel Ricciardo gets a three-place grid penalty for the race and this means he will drop to 13th for his final start with the Woking team:
"I'm pleased with Q3 because it hasn't been a sure thing this year. So, from that point of view, I'm happy to just be in it the whole session and be able to be in the hunt. It was a P10, but we were competitive enough to give us a little bit of hope. I think the middle sector, I just didn't quite nail so there was maybe a tenth or so on the table there which maybe could have put me in the fight with Vettel and perhaps Ocon. Nonetheless, looking forward to tomorrow. I will try to attack from the start, make up a few positions and put myself back in the fight with the top ten".
James Key, McLaren’s Executive Director, hopes to do better tomorrow:
"It was a case of looking for marginal gains in FP3, after some good work on set-up and balance during Friday, together with further steps overnight, we took an approach of fine tuning and working out best approach to qualifying. It was good to get both cars through to Q3, the margins were tight in all three sessions but both drivers had the pace to make the top 10. The long run pace looked reasonable yesterday, so we look forward to making good use of that tomorrow in the final race of the season. Daniel has a three-place grid penalty but he'll be pushing hard to fight back into the points. It will be an interesting race with the predicted strategy options available so it's all to play for".
Esteban Ocon thinks that this was one of the best session of the season:
"I'm very pleased with today's Qualifying so a big well done to the team for one of our best sessions of the season. Every run felt like we made a step as we tried to maximise the performance of the car today. Our main competitors are quick this weekend, perhaps quicker than we originally thought, so we will need to be focused tomorrow to have a good race and bring back some points. There's one more to go, so let's make it the best one yet".
Alan Permane, Alpine’s Sporting Director, is pleased with tomorrow’s starting places:
"We will start tomorrow's final race of the year with Esteban in eighth and Fernando in tenth and we're generally quite pleased with those starting spots. Fernando didn't quite extract the most from the car today - missing a tenth or two throughout - and his focus is already on tomorrow's race where we know we are strong. This circuit has always been quite tricky for Qualifying with cooling track temperatures and traffic as cars queue in the final sector, which brings difficulties in keeping the tyres in a good window. Esteban and his team did a great job in managing those elements today to qualify in eighth place and he was close to sneaking seventh by just half a tenth of a second. We're looking forward to tomorrow's race where the aim is to utilise our strong race pace and have both cars well inside the points to end the season on a high note".
Sebastian Vettel is satisfied with his last qualifying session:
"Overall, my final qualifying in Formula One was a good session. The car is doing what I want this weekend and this has contributed to this decent result. I have been very motivated and it felt as if there was a bit extra in me today. We did have some traffic in Q1 and Q2 with a Red Bull at the last corner, but the lap in Q3 was clean. I am looking forward to the race - my last one in Formula One - and I hope we will be able to deliver a good result for the team as I end my journey with everyone at Aston Martin F1. Anything can happen here and we will try to maximise our chances tomorrow".
Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s Team Principal, hopes that the team will get the sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship:
"It was hot today in Abu Dhabi - but, as usual, given the 6.00pm start time, the track cooled during the qualifying hour. Both drivers progressed smoothly through to Q2. Thereafter, Sebastian managed to get through to Q3, but Lance narrowly failed to do so. Tomorrow, starting from P9 and P14, our ambition remains to do our utmost to win sixth place in the Constructors' World Championship".
"It was incredible to win here again and to get 15 wins in total this season is unbelievable. It was a good race, the one stop really worked for me and it was all about tyre management today. As a Team, we did everything we could to get Checo up there ahead of Charles, we had split strategies, but it didn’t work out today. Overall, we’ve achieved a lot this year as a Team and we can all be proud of that, its great motivation heading into next year. We’ve had an incredible season and I want to thank everyone in the Team out here in Abu Dhabi and back at the factory, this sport requires dedication, and everyone at Oracle Red Bull Racing has that, it’s clear to see. I’m really looking forward to a break now and I hope everyone has a good Winter and much needed time with family and friends".
Sergio Perez has missed the second place in the Championship just for one second but he says he is happy after all:
"I am pleased because I gave it my all today. In the end we just didn’t have enough, this is how the sport works, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It hurts to lose second place in the Championship by one second, there are things we could have done better but at the end of the day what matters is that you never give up in this sport and that is what I have done this season, on and off track, so I can go home happy. What really meant the most this season is that we gave everything, always, and we ended the final race doing just that. The Team has had a tremendous year so it is nice to finish the season well, we will regroup and look to another strong year in 2023".
"What a season and what a way to end it. It's just unbelievable. Winning 17 races as a Team. Five 1-2 finishes and being so close to 1-2 in the Drivers' Championship brings to an end what truly has been a remarkable year. It surpasses anything we have ever achieved. The drivers have been exceptional. A record-breaking 15th win this season for Max. A third straight victory in Abu Dhabi. Exemplary. Checo gave it all he had, coming so close to catching and taking Charles by the end of the race, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Third place in the Championship is still fantastic though and brings to an end his best season ever in F1. Every season in F1 is grueling but it truly has been a herculean effort from everyone this season. From the campus in Milton Keynes, to everyone at track, it has been an immense Team effort. I’d also like to thank our partners who, without their support, none of this would be possible. When we reflect on this season, there have been some epic highs and equally sobering lows, but we look back on 2022 as a season like no other, one in which we lost our founder Dietrich Mateschitz. F1 was his passion, his love. We dedicate everything we have achieved this season and the two World Championships to him. Danke Didi".
Charles Leclerc is happy with the race and the second place in the Championship and thanks his team for their work, but he also talks about the target for next Championship:
"It was a good race. We executed it perfectly and, as we didn’t have the pure pace to beat our competitors, put pressure on them in the key moments, which paid off. It was a season full of ups and downs, but considering where we came from, we made a good step and can be satisfied with our progress. I want to thank the whole team, both back home at the factory and at the track, for all their hard work and dedication. P2 in the Constructors’ means a lot and we don’t want to stop here. We have to keep our heads down and push as hard as we can this winter, with the target of winning the title next year".
On his 4th place, his season and his team Carlos Sainz comments:
"It was a solid race today. The start wasn’t clean but I managed to pull a nice overtake on the Mercedes at turn 6. Unfortunately, I lost time and tyre life behind Lewis and from then onwards we committed to the two stop strategy. Overall, it was a strong performance, with good teamwork to finish P2 with Charles in the drivers’ championship and P2 in the constructors’ championship, which was our target this weekend. It hasn’t been an easy season, especially the first half, but I’ve managed to recover the pace, and my feeling with the car has been much better in the second half. Even though we’ve only just finished the season, we are fully focused and motivated to push this winter and I am already looking forward to next year. Thank you to every single member of the team for your tremendous effort and determination and to every tifosi out there for your incredible support! Bring on 2023! Forza Ferrari".
Mattia Binotto talks about Ferrari’s season and the work of the his team also for 2023:
"Second place in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ championships is down to all the hard work over the course of the season. This has been an important year, in which we had set ourselves the goal of getting back to being competitive and, in that, we have succeeded. However, we know, if we want to win the titles, there is still a lot of work to do. I congratulate the entire team, drivers, engineers, mechanics, here in Abu Dhabi and all those back home in Maranello, because they were able to stay focussed on our goals for this weekend. The season had its difficult moments, but overall it has been signifcant. We can put 2022 behind us knowing that we made a lot of progress and, as from Tuesday, we will start preparing for the new challenge that awaits us in 2023. I want to thank our fans for their unwavering support this season. Thank you also to Sebastian for everything he has given to Formula 1 and to Ferrari".
"This could have almost been a memorable race, but we probably got more wrong than right today. We didn't have the pace this weekend and tried as hard as we could, but this was actually one of the toughest race of the season for us. It's a shame how the race panned out for me - I had a strong start fighting Carlos, but with the long first pit-stop and the five-second penalty meant the race was over for me. This race brought us back to reality, after our high in Brazil at a track that suited our car much better. Today simply highlighted what we already knew: that we have lots of improvements to make during the winter. Everyone in the team in Brackley and Brixworth is pushing as hard as they can and we're headed in the right direction. And we are confident, we will have a stronger car next year".
Of course Lewis Hamilton cannot be happy with his race as he needed to retire on lap 55:
"This last race was just a good reminder of the whole year and I'm glad it's over and that we can now look forward to next year. I had a strong start, but the car floor took a big hit during the contact with Carlos and everything else unfolded from there. When it happens, you just lose a little bit of performance, but the balance basically shifts forwards. It's almost like you have loads of front wing and I had to wait for the stop to take out front wing - which did improve the balance. We had a difficult car all weekend and unfortunately, I had to retire right before the race finish because we lost hydraulic pressure. We will have the next couple of weeks at the factory, where we will work hard to make sure we can come back stronger next year so we will focus on that. I hope that the struggle this year will provide us with the strength and the tools to fight for more victories in the future - the team in Brackley and Brixworth deserve it, given how hard they've worked all year. So, we continue to get up and try - we need to show our strength across this winter and into next season".
Toto Wolff talks about the difficulties of Abu Dhabi race and the goals for next year:
"Today we really didn't perform well. We did all the mistakes we could possibly have made tonight: we didn't have the pace, one driver breaking down and the other one running out of tyres - it's a good summary of the challenges this season for us. We cooked the tyres in the first few laps because we attacked. The car seemed strong at the start, but then the front right just gave out and maybe that's something we should've predicted. We knew that Abu Dhabi was going to be a difficult one for us so at least that prediction was accurate but then unfortunately we made mistakes we could've avoided. For us, this was a character-building season and we will put this car on display in the factory as a reminder. We had more bad moments than good ones, but the good ones were spectacular, like a week ago in Brazil, which reminded us how good it can be. It's okay the way we feel right now but we're pushing hard so we can be back next year".
Andrew Shovlin comments:
"It wasn't the way we wanted to finish the year, but if we're honest with ourselves it's the way we deserved to. We weren't good enough in many areas today and we'll use that fact to focus our work over the winter. It's been very difficult, but the challenge has brought the team together and it feels like we are more united than we've ever been. We knew our winning streak would come to an end one day and we always knew it would be the biggest challenge the team has ever faced, but if we are to look at the positives of 2022, it's how the team has worked together, how we've looked for solutions, rather than excuses and we will do everything possible to get back into the title fight next year".
"P6 and a fastest lap, the perfect way to end a season. It was a tough race, I wasn't far away from getting overtaken at the end, but we timed it well. We've always struggled a bit more with degradation, especially on a circuit which is front-limited, comparing to other teams, so we knew this was going to be a tough one. I tried to build a good gap, knowing this was going to be the case and we ended with a P6 and a P9 for Daniel. A good double-points finish and a perfect way to end the season, motivate the team and end with some good points. I'm very happy, the team did a great job".
Daniel Ricciardo, who finished P9, talks about his last race with McLaren and thanks his team:
"I'm really pleased to get some points in my last race for McLaren. I felt like I did the best I could with the pace I had. I was struggling to keep the front tyres alive. That was the biggest limitation, that's where it got a bit tricky. I felt in terms of moves, I defended when I could and overtook when I could, so from that point of view, I'm pretty pleased. Vettel caught me quite quick in the end and trying to hold him off I think I killed the tyres a bit but I am happy to have held on and got the points. It was a good end to the season. Big thanks to the whole team – they also put a nice message on the dash after the race, so that was cool. Appreciate that. We've had some high highs and some low lows but throughout it all I've enjoyed my time here racing alongside Lando and hopefully doing McLaren proud. Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, Papaya army and everyone both trackside and back in Woking - I can't thank you enough. It may have been my last race for McLaren but I'm looking forward to what comes next. I wish the team the very best for next season".
Apart from talking about the race and the season, McLaren’s Team Principal Andreas Seidl thanks the team, the fans, the drivers and Formula1:
"This was a nice way to finish a long, tough season. The team pulled it off today with a double-points finish at the Yas Marina Circuit, three excellent pit-stops and fastest lap. It was a well-executed race, with P6 for Lando and P9 for Daniel representing a good return for a lot of hard work. Fastest lap for Lando is a nice reward, while Daniel put in a great defensive drive at the end to hold onto his position. We say goodbye to him now after a drive that exemplifies the unflagging enthusiasm and determination he's shown this year. We finish the season P5 in the Constructors' Championship. It is a fair reflection of our overall performance as a team this year. We definitely had some challenges to overcome. At the same time we had many positives including the podium in Imola and we learned a lot to become a better team next season. We start with the preparation of the next season tonight getting ready for the young driver test with Lando and Oscar on Tuesday. Finally, after a long and exciting season of Formula 1, I'd like to say thank you to the entire McLaren team, both at track and at the factory for their constant dedication, support and commitment. Also to Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens, our fantastic simulator and development drivers for their support from MTC. Mercedes HPP have been fundamental partners to our team this year, and we thank both the team embedded within the McLaren race team, and back at Brixworth for their support. We also thank Pirelli for their hard work, collaboration and development which has been so vital to the success of our sport. To the FIA. the race directors and stewards, who's hard work enables us to go racing safely, and to Formula 1, who have organised a spectacular 22 race season, putting on excellent events for fan, we also send our sincere thanks. To our incredible fans, who's support has been felt everywhere we race, it's been fantastic having you back at track at every event. After two years of restrictions in 2020 and 2021, getting back to normal in 2022 has reminded us just how passionate our fan base is, and we work every weekend to try and score the best possible results for you.
To our fantastic partners, without your support we simply wouldn't be able to go racing and we're delighted to have you with us on this journey. Whether at the track, or from afar, we've always felt your support, and we look forward to continuing and building our relationships into the new year. Final thanks go to Lando and Daniel for their hard work, positive attitude and dedication to serving the team. Coming into a new era of regulations represents a challenge for the entire team, but the feedback provided by both of them has been crucial to bettering our understanding of these cars and puts us in a strong position to make progress next year. Lando's consistency and performances, including his podium in Imola have been fantastic to see, and we're delighted to see him continue to develop with the team. We also send our deepest thanks to Daniel, for his unwavering commitment and support over the past two seasons. Daniel is a fantastic character and a true team player. Daniel delivered us our first win since 2012, and our first 1-2 since 2011, for that and his impeccable attitude throughout his time with the team, we will always be grateful. We wish him happiness and good luck with the next chapter of his journey".
"I would like to say a massive congratulations to the whole team, here trackside and at the factories in Viry and Enstone, for claiming fourth place in the Constructors' Championship. It's been a long and intense season and it feels good to have reached the goal we set at the beginning of the year. On my side, it is the best points finish of my career, so that is very satisfying. In terms of today's race, seventh place is a great result and, with one more lap, it could have been sixth as I was catching Lando [Norris] at the end. I have enjoyed the last couple of years with Fernando and I wish him all the best for next year. He will always be a legend of this team and, of the sport, and I look forward to racing him on-track next season. Now it's time for a break before getting back to work to prepare for next year".
Fernando Alonso, who cannot be happy about his race, talks about Alpine’s fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship and thanks his team:
"Unfortunately, it's another retirement for us today after we were fighting for the points and looking quite comfortable. Importantly the team finished fourth in the Constructors' Championship, which was the goal coming into this weekend, so well done to everyone at the team on achieving this target. Even though it's a goodbye to the team after this weekend, I will always think of Alpine with good memories. I spent nine years of my life with this team and won two championships in the past with Renault, so I wish them well for the future".
Omar Szafnauer thanks his team and his drivers for their season:
"Firstly, congratulations to all at BWT Alpine F1 Team on this fantastic achievement of securing fourth place in the Constructors' Championship. This was our target at the start of the year and we certainly deserve it after showing a strong level of competitiveness on a regular basis to pick up good points at most races. This is credit to the entire team across Viry and Enstone who have done a marvellous job to deliver a fast race car. Of course, we've had some high moments and some low ones, but these experiences are all part of our journey and we will continue to learn, develop and grow as a team. I'd like to extend a message of thanks to Fernando for his efforts throughout the campaign and for delivering some performances that we'll all remember forever. We wish Fernando the best for his future. Well done to Esteban on achieving his joint best finish of his career in the Drivers' Championship and we look forward to seeing what he can do next year. Right now, the entire team deserves some time off after a long season and I'm sure we'll return in 2023 feeling fresh and determined to go again and continue meeting our objectives".
Laurent Rossi, Alpine’s CEO, concludes:
"Congratulations to the entire team on achieving fourth place in the Constructors' Championship after a very hard-fought season. We knew the campaign would be challenging across many aspects, not least with such significant rule changes and a completely new sheet of paper in terms of car design. Thanks to everyone at Enstone and Viry for bringing a high rate of development to the package to ensure we could make strong progress throughout the year. Achieving fourth place was our objective for this year so it's extremely satisfying to tick that box and meet this milestone. Everyone at Alpine remains hungry and determined to take this achievement as a stepping stone for next season where we want to maintain our trajectory towards the front of the grid. For now, we'll enjoy some time off over the off-season and return next year with our eyes firmly looking forwards. Finally, a special thanks to Fernando for his outstanding achievements at the team over the years and we wish him well on the next chapter of his career".
Lance Stroll, P8, is happy with the performance in the race and his team’s job:
"We had a competitive race with a good strategy today to round out the year. I am happy with the performance and the result: it was a great team effort. It was a shame not to pass Alfa Romeo in the Constructors' World Championship at the end. We gave it everything we could as the races ticked by and we were so close to jumping them today. The team here at the track and back at Silverstone did a really good job throughout the year to help us get much more out of the car in the second half of the season. We were able to fight for points on a much more regular basis recently and that progress is a good preparation for next year".
Sebastian Vettel talks about his race and the emotional weekend he had. He thanks his team and who supported him:
"I enjoyed the race this evening, but it was a shame that we could not quite get past Daniel [Ricciardo] at the end. The lead-up to the race was a bit different with so many tributes and activities on the grid, but once the lights went out it was full-on race mode. It was not an easy race because it was a close call between a one-stop and two-stop strategy. On my car, we tried to make the one-stop work, but as the tyres were getting older it was quite challenging to hold on. It was nice to fight the last couple of laps with Daniel and to have us both finishing in the points, but we just missed out on moving up a place in the Constructors' World Championship. Overall, it has been a big and emotional weekend, so thank you to everybody for all the support. Seeing so many flags and so many smiling faces has been very, very special. I am sure I am going to miss it more than I understand right now. The past two years have been great for me personally so thank you for all the support - all the messages, the letters and all the love in general. I will miss that but it has been an absolute joy throughout my career so thank you all again".
Mike Krack first thanks Sebastian Vettel, than talks about Stroll’s race and Aston Martin Team’s work:
"On behalf of all at Aston Martin, I want to pay tribute to Sebastian, who drove his last Formula One Grand Prix this evening. One of our sport's all-time greats - his four World Championships and 53 Grand Prix wins attest to that - he has been a brilliant driver for us this year and last, and his excellent qualifying lap yesterday and his combative race drive to P10 today showed that he has bowed out at the peak of his form. We will miss him. As for Lance, today he drove a strong race to P8. The five points we scored here in Abu Dhabi lifted our total to 55: not quite enough to wrest sixth place in the Constructors' World Championship from Alfa Romeo, whose points total we drew level with, because they stayed ahead of us on countback. Last but very far from least, I would like to say congratulations and thank you to all our staff - at the races and back at Silverstone - who worked incredibly hard all year. Next year we are determined to do better".
Yuki Tsunoda ha finished P11 and comments:
"I did the best I could out there today, so I have to be pleased with that. Unfortunately, the tyre just dropped off at the end and I couldn’t keep up the pace and make it into the points. It’s been a tough year for the team, but on a positive side I’ve learnt a lot, especially from Pierre. It’s been a pleasure to work with him over the last two years and I want to say thanks to him for everything he’s done for both me and the team".
Pierre Gasly, P14, talks about his last race with AlphaTauri and what he experienced this year:
"I don’t have many things to say about the race, we tried something different today, but it didn’t seem to work. It was my last with Scuderia AlphaTauri, and sadly tonight didn’t reflect our time together. I will remember everything I have experienced over the years with the team, my first race in Formula 1, first podium and first win. I know that I am a better driver today because of them and I am so grateful for all these achievements. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone I’ve worked with, they’ve all done a tremendous job. We’ve had three amazing podiums and now it’s time to celebrate these unforgettable memories together".
Jody Egginton, AlphaTauri’s Technical Director, talks about the strategy in the race:
"Yuki put in a solid and consistent race today, fighting for the final points positions. Unfortunately, the timing of the last stop from Albon forced us onto the soft tyre a bit earlier than planned. This compound did not quite have enough left in it to keep the pressure up on Vettel and Ricciardo for a top 10 finish. Starting Pierre on the soft tyre was aggressive, but given he qualified out of position, we felt we had to take a risk to try and move forward quickly. This tyre actually performed reasonably well, meaning he was boxing in phase with the cars around him. Whilst Pierre was outside the points, we extended the middle stint to see if any opportunity to take on the new tyre late would come around, however this was not the case and although we got him ahead of the Haas cars, we could not move him further forward towards the points. It’s been a long season and unfortunately, we have not been able to deliver the level of performance of the previous two years in 2022, but the entire team is totally focused on addressing this for next year. Finally, on behalf of the team I would like to thank Pierre for his hard work and dedication, he has been an important part of our success in recent seasons, and we wish him well in 2023".
Zhou Guanyu, P12, says he is proud of his team and talks about his first Formula1 season:
"I am so proud of this team, not just for tonight but for the whole season. We gave everything in the race and, despite not scoring points, we achieved our target, which was finishing P6 in the Championship. We had to sacrifice my strategy to hold on through the last laps, and I think we did a good job with that. We truly gave it all out there, it was an amazing fight on track and I think also the best overtake I’ve done all season. We got what we deserved after such a long season. It’s been an amazing rookie season, we started high and it’s good to see we finished on a high as well. Of course, it hasn’t always gone as we hoped for, we had quite a few reliability issues, but I’m positive we’ll get it all fixed over the winter and have a much better season next year. Overall, I really enjoyed my first Formula One season, with all the support from my team, my teammate Valtteri, and all the fans. I am grateful for all this and I can’t wait for next season".
Valtteri Bottas, P15, is happy about his team:
"I am really pleased for the team, it’s an important result and you can see what it means for everyone of us. It was close, very close in our battle for sixth in the championship, but we did it and I am proud of everyone tonight. The only thing that mattered to us today was the standings results and the strategy we chose was quite defensive, trying to hold position and slow down our rivals when we found ourselves in front of them. It worked, but it was a tense few moments in the final lap: waiting to hear if we had made it gave me a bit of a sense of déjà vu – although tonight we had a much more positive ending than last time around. I am proud of how the team came a long way since winter testing: we scored a lot of points at the beginning of the year and those results made all the difference at the end of the season. The spirit in the team is excellent, we can be proud of our work and this will help us continue our progression next year. There’s plenty to look forward to next year".
Frederic Vasseur is satisfied with the Alfa Romeo Team’s work:
"Tonight is the crowning of an incredible job by everyone in the team, both trackside and in Hinwil. Finishing in P6 in the championship surpasses our expectations and the targets we had set at the beginning of the season, so we can thoroughly say that this season was a success: I am proud of what we have achieved, but this is just another starting point on which we want to build. Tonight’s race was just about the championship result: we knew that, starting from far back, scoring points on our own would have been hard, but we could work as a team and make strategic decisions to make the fight for P6 lean in our direction. In the end, it turned out a bit more tense than we would have hoped after Hamilton’s retirement, and the last few laps were a nail-biting affair! But we brought it home, this is what matters, and you can see what it really means to all of us".
Alex Albon finished P13 but is happy about the race and the team’s work over the year:
"I'm really happy with my race today and I think with such a strong start, getting passed four or five cars in those first laps, it was great. There were moments in the race where we kept hitting a degradation point and would get to 15 laps and then suffer a loss of performance, so we were forced to pit quite early. We did fall short at the end finishing on warn tyres, but I think starting P19 and finishing P13 is a good job, so I'm really happy. This year has been a massive team effort and we've done our best in maximising the car. We haven't had the easiest car to drive which is no secret but I'm really proud of everyone. We know our weaknesses and we've maximised our opportunities when we were struggling, and when the car was in a decent window, that's when we scored points. This puts us in a good place for when we have a better car next year. All in all, thanks to everyone at the team for all their efforts this year".
Nicholas Latifi talks about his last race in Formula1:
"The incident with Mick [Schumacher] really put us out and then we suffered an electrical issue that forced us to retire. It's not how I wanted to end my last one, but it is what it is. I'm very grateful for the three years I've had with Williams in Formula 1. I'm leaving the sport feeling like I wanted to achieve and accomplish more however it doesn't always work out like that in motorsports. Along the way there's been highs and lows with many strong bonds and friendships that I'll cherish".
Jost Capito comments about the progress for 2023 and thanks Latifi for his years with the team:
"I'd like to say a huge thank you to every member of the team both at track and back at the factory. It's been an intense, challenging year and each person put in maximum effort. We can be proud of the progress we made during the year and the points scoring results we achieved on pace and merit. Of course, tenth is never where we want to be in the championship and our focus is fully on progressing in 2023. We go straight onto the young driver's test here in Abu Dhabi so there is no rest for the team quite yet, and we look forward to having a productive day on Tuesday. Finally, I'd like to say a huge thanks to Nicholas for his three years racing with the team. He's a much-loved member of the team and will always remain a member of the Williams family - we wish him all the very best of luck for his future".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, observes:
"From the back of the grid, this was a very good race by the team. The tyres required careful management and knowing when to push and when to manage was not always obvious, but Alex did an excellent job, helped by advice from his engineers. Losing a place right at the end was a shame but at least showed that we pushed things to the limit in pursuit of the best possible result. It was another example of an aggressive but disciplined drive by Alex, which bodes well for the future. Nicholas was very unfortunate that an electrical issue ended his final race with the team a few laps early. We are still looking at the problem, but it was clear that the power to the dash was intermittent and completing the race was not possible. He had suffered contact earlier in the race, which caused some damage to the rear of his car that both hurt his pace and led to a long pit stop whilst we inspected the car. We have a few loose ends to tie up this evening and then we will turn our attention to the test on Tuesday. We go into the test with both Alex and Logan getting experience of the new 2023 Pirelli tyres. It is a rare opportunity to have both cars on the track at the same time, and one that will not be repeated until FP1 at the first race next year. With only three days of pre-season testing next year, this single day of running is very important, especially with a new driver in the car".
Mick Schumacher finished P16 with a five seconds penalty. The German driver comments:
"We didn’t quite have the pace today, one lap pace was there yesterday, but we knew it would be tough to stay in position. We were hoping for a bit more but at the end we kept eighth in the Constructors’ Championship and that was the focus. I’m happy for the team as it means a totally different budget and I’m sure they’ll be able to use it".
Kevin Magnussen, P17, comments:
"P8 was the most important thing of course, we didn’t really have a great chance to do much today but at least eighth stuck and that’s a good thing for developing over the winter and just a nice step to take forward from the last two years that Haas has had. It’s a nice place to build from and I’m looking forward to next year".
Guenther Steiner talks about P8 in the Constructors’ Championship:
"We finished the Constructors’ Championship in P8 which this morning was the objective. That’s what we did, we battled all year long through a rollercoaster of ups and downs but in the end, we ended up going forward in the championship which is important and the aim for next year is to make the next step. The race today was not what we wanted but finishing eighth overshadowed everything".
Mario Isola talks about the tyres and the strategies in Abu Dhabi GP:
"Abu Dhabi provided a worthy finale to this exceptional Formula 1 season. The finishing order at Yas Marina was determined by the choice of different tyre strategies; a further demonstration of how Pirelli's work has contributed to making this year's championship so compelling and competitive. As we expected, we saw both one-stop and two-stop strategies today. Generally speaking, degradation was lower than it had been on Friday, which allowed for longer stints. The compound of the race was undoubtedly the hard, which took most of the drivers to the chequered flag. Tuesday will be Pirelli day, with the teams all staying on to test the 2023 tyres for the first time. Even though the cars won't be the same as those used next year and the set-up not optimised for the new specification of tyre, the teams will still obtain important feedback on the three softest compounds - which are best suited to the characteristics of the Yas Marina track - and the new C1".
An announcement is made after the race. Williams Racing is pleased to confirm that Logan Sargeant will race for the team in the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship after securing sufficient points following the final Formula 2 race in Abu Dhabi to qualify for a Super Licence. Logan was crowned rookie of the year after finishing his Formula 2 season fourth in the championship with 148 points, taking two Feature race wins and two podiums in the process. The Williams Academy driver completes the team's line-up for the 2023 season alongside Alex Albon and will become the first American to compete in Formula 1 since 2015. On this incredible opportunity Logan Sargeant comments:
"It's a huge honour and a dream come true to be given this opportunity to compete in Formula 1 with Williams Racing. A massive thank you to every person at Williams Racing and Dorilton Motor Sports for the support they've given me since the day I first joined the team at the 2021 United States Grand Prix. Being a part of the Williams Driver Academy for the past year has given me an important platform to develop as a driver and prepare me for this next chapter. I'm ready and excited to be a part of this journey as the team looks to progress up the grid".
Jost Capito comments:
"We're delighted to officially announce Logan as our driver for next year after qualifying for a super licence following the final F2 event of the season in Abu Dhabi. Logan completes our exciting driver line-up for 2023 alongside Alex. Since joining our Driver Academy at the end of 2021, Logan has been able to fully integrate with the team at Grove while on the simulator and more recently at track during the four Free Practice sessions he's participated in. He's had a strong rookie season in Formula 2, and we are excited to watch him make the step up in Formula 1. We are here to support that journey with him".
Sven Smeets, Williams Racing Sporting Director, adds:
"To be able to give Logan the opportunity to compete in Formula 1 for Williams Racing next year after being an integral part of our Driver Academy is a proud moment for the team. Seeing a driver from the Academy getting in our F1 seat is a motivation for all the other Academy drivers and demonstrates legitimacy of the programme and the platform it provides. We are not only preparing him on track, but will be working hard over the winter off track to ensure he's in the best possible position to start 2023".
Formula 1 2022 is not finished yet. There is another event that in fact represents the first step towards the 2023 season: the Abu Dhabi tests. Among the most awaited performances, there is surely that of Fernando Alonso with Aston Martin. The Spaniard gets on track with an AMR22 without sponsors, with a black suit and a particular helmet. All eyes are also on Oscar Piastri: the Australian driver, 2021 Formula 2 Champion, debuts with McLaren after a discussed breaking with Alpine. The new arrived in the team from Woking also triggers a red flag, for having stopped on track at Turn 7. Logan Sargeant, new Williams driver for 2023, is on the wheel of the FW44. This day also marks the debut of Nico Hulkenberg with Haas: after two seasons in the shadow, in fact the German driver is again on track with a team; despite all, his adventure does not start very well, as after few laps he is forced to park his VF-22 due to a technical issue. The vehicle is taken to the boxes without the need of a red flag. Nyck De Vries will drive for AlphaTauri, after the free practices with Mercedes and Aston Martin, and the race in Monza with Williams. During the first three hours of test there is an intense activity on track, with Sergio Perez who has run 66 laps. Charles Leclerc, who in the afternoon will give the car to Carlos Sainz, opens the day in the lead of the ranking, followed by Robert Shwartzman on the other F1-75. At Yas Marina there are also some young drivers who have the opportunity to show their talent on the wheel of a F1 car. Among them, there is Frederik Vesti, on a Mercedes. After three hours, is best time is 1'28"446, after running 50 laps. In the Mercedes’ boxes there is also George Russell, who in the afternoon will give his place to Lewis Hamilton. Felipe Drugovich, Formula 2 Champion, will be the reserve and development driver of Aston Martin. After his debut on the AMR22 during last weekend’s FP1, today completes 37 laps in three hours, gaining the eighth position with a best time of 1'27"053. After the issues he had, Nico Hulkenberg is back on the Haas: he has only run 24 laps. Among the young drivers, there is also Theo Pourchaire, vice-champion in Formula 2. The French driver is on the wheel of Alfa Romeo. After the first four hours, is still Charles Leclerc to lead the ranking with a time of 1'25"383, followed by Robert Shwartzman. Fernando Alonso on the Aston Martin is third, ahead of Sergio Perez (who has run 88 laps with his Red Bull).
At 1:00 p.m., the ranking is still the same for what concerns the first ten positions. The session is then interrupted for the second time, because there are some cuttings on track that need to be removed. Ferrari dictated the pace with Charles Leclerc ahead of Robert Shwartzman. The debut of Fernando Alonso on the wheel of an Aston Martin was very intense: after the 2:00 p.m., he had completed 97 laps. Ferrari communicate on their social media that today’s program for Charles Leclerc has ended. 56 are the laps completed by him, and he is the leader of the ranking with a best time of 1'25"383. Robert Shwartzman will run with the single-seater reserved to the Young Driver Test. Carlos Sainz gets on track and completes his first 5 laps with the F1-75, but his times are high, with a 1'29"282. then, he manages to do better, going seventh with 1'26"884. Also Nico Hulkenberg improves, wunning a lot of laps: now he is at 67 laps done and so he has completed more km than his team mate Pietro Fittipaldi. Carlos Sainz goes under to 1'26"516. and is now fifth, ahead of Gasly, while Robert Shwartzman has done 90 laps with the F1-75. All the drivers have got on track, with the arrival of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso has concluded his experience with AM with 97 laps, with a best time of 1'26"312, in third position, a second behind Charles Leclerc. Three drivers have run 100 laps today: Valtteri Bottas and Nyck De Vries, who completed 105 laps respectively for Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri. 100 laps for McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. In the lead the is always a Ferrari, but is that of Carlos Sainz, with 1'25"245., a tenth ahead of the Monegasque. In the top ten there is also Lewis Hamilton, ninth with his Mercedes in 1'27"043. and 20 laps. Lance Stroll is fourth in 1'26"263. Max Verstappen with his Red Bull goes third in 1'25"845. A lot of drivers now have completed 100 laps, with Alex Albon, Robert Shwartzman, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Frederik Vesti, Jack Doohan and Theo Pourchaire. One hour to the end and the ranking sees Alex Albon in fourth place with a time of 1'25"959. Logan Sargeant gets ninth in 1'26"537. with 79 laps. Day ended for Lando Norris, with more than 100 laps, but his 1'26"890. keeps him out of the top ten:
"Useful day. It was good to get some time with these tyres to help Pirelli's development of them into 2023 and to gather important data on how they operate. It was a productive day to round out the season. Big thanks to Pirelli and the team for their hard work. We'll now head into the winter focused on preparing for the 2023 season and doing everything we can to start next year on the front foot".
Also Oscar Piastri ends his first day with McLaren, with more than 120 laps and a best time of 1.26.340:
"A good first day with McLaren, I think we learnt a lot. It was great to finally join up with the team, and thanks to them for a good day of running. We did a lot of laps and experimented a lot which is exactly what today is all about. I've got a good idea where to improve for next year. I really enjoyed it, it's nice to be back out on track finally and experience the 2022 cars. I'm looking forward to next year now, I'll be in the factory next week to meet the whole team, after that I'll take a short break before getting back to work with McLaren to prepare for next year".
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Executive Director, analyses this day of tests:
"It's been a productive day of testing here in Abu Dhabi at the post-season test, where we've managed to complete a lot of important work. Firstly, it's been great to get Oscar into the MCL36 and start his integration into the team. The main objective for him today has been to get as much mileage under his belt as possible, and to start to get him used to working with the team. On Lando's side, it was useful to gather information on these Pirelli tyres ahead of next year. Our thanks go to Pirelli for their support during this test. Having completed 123 laps with Oscar and 115 with Lando, my thanks go to the team, both here at track and at MTC, and to the drivers for their hard work today. After a long season of Formula 1, the race team will now head back to MTC and take the time for a well-deserved rest and reset before putting all our efforts into the 2023 season".
Ferrari is in the lead, with Robert Shwartzman going third in 1'25"400. Good performance from the young driver:
"We finished a very positive test day here in Abu Dhabi with 116 laps and a solid amount of work. The testing programme was quite comprehensive with performance runs, race simulations, tests and practice starts. I feel I made a good improvement from Friday’s FP1 and for most of the sessions I was fairly close to Charles and Carlos pace wise which is also very positive for me. There are always things to improve but I think the potential we showed was very good. In general I am also very happy with the work we did this year with the team back in Maranello on the simulator as the car feels very similar. It was great having the chance to drive for the team again and I really enjoyed today".
Pierre Gasly takes the Alpine in fourth position in 1'25"689:
"Firstly, thanks to the entire team for making me feel so welcome over the last two days and I'm feeling ready to begin this next chapter in my career. It was a fantastic feeling to drive the A522 for the first time, and, I must say, it's an impressive car. The objectives for me today were all about getting used to my new surroundings, working closely with the engineers and, generally, building up my learning in the car and getting an understanding for its characteristics. We completed many laps - as per our plan - and I'm already very excited to fully embed myself in the team. I'm looking forward to visiting everyone at Viry and Enstone, debriefing on this test, before working towards our objectives alongside Esteban for the 2023 season".
Jack Doohan enjoyed his experience with Alpine:
"It's been another good experience driving a Formula 1 car today and I'm very grateful to Alpine for this opportunity. It's been a busy day, plenty of laps, and a lot of new things to take on board, and I'm pretty pleased with how it's progressed. Last weekend in Free Practice 1 was only one hour long, so to have a full day in the car is extremely useful as you can get a lot done in a less pressured environment. Thanks to Alpine for a brilliant year and I'm excited for the hard work to continue next season. Now my focus turns back to Formula 2 again where I'm back in the car for three days of testing in Abu Dhabi before the off-season".
Alan Permane, Alpine’s Sporting Director, concludes:
"It was great to have Pierre in the car for the first time today as it's very important for him to get up to speed quickly in order to hit the ground running in 2023. We have just three days of pre-season testing next season, so today's test is particularly useful for us to complete some of the small but important tasks on any new driver checklist. Pierre's day mainly consisted of familiarisation work and getting him used to the car and our systems as well as gaining a further understanding on Pirelli's 2023 tyres. We know Pierre is a top-level driver and he did a very good job today to embed himself within the team. Jack was on the other side of the garage in the Young Driver Test and he again - like in FP1 last Friday - was faultless in the car as he continues his learning and progress in Formula 1 machinery. The trackside team returns to Viry and Enstone now ahead of the off-season, so thanks to them for a very good year".
Nico Hülkenberg is satisfied with his first day back on a F1 car:
"It was a good day of work, good running, collected many impressions and a lot of data - which was the target. We successfully went through our program. There’s a lot of things to pick through, digest and analyze now and over the next couple of weeks with the team. Today was about learning the tires for 2023, learning their characteristics and with these test days you have a bit more time to try stuff. I’m satisfied and happy with the day. There was a bit of human degradation towards the end day, but I coped better than expected to be honest - so that’s good. There’s now three months of hard-core preparation to get ready, I have a plan and I know what I have to do".
Pietro Fittipaldi is very happy too:
"It was an amazing day of testing. We got just under 100 laps of testing in using the new 2023 tires. Again, I felt pretty comfortable in the car and fast off the bat - so that allowed us to kick on with the test program. It was a very positive day from my side. Thanks to the team for the opportunity".
Ayao Komatsu, Haas’ Director of Engineering, explains today’s performance:
"So, we had a pretty good day today with Nico. We had a bit of PU trouble in the morning, but in the end he completed 110 laps. For a first time back in the car for a while, I’d say he’s done a really good job. We tested quite a lot of stuff which will be useful for next year. Pietro, in the other car, he did 99 laps, and as usual his preparation was good and his feedback excellent. He didn’t put a foot wrong today, it was a really good day with him. We’re very happy with the way the day’s gone overall".
Sergio Perez is pleased with the work done today:
"I think we have had a good morning overall and have plenty of information to give to the Team and the engineers, so I am pleased with the work we have done. The new compounds still tend to be quite close, as they were this season, but the front is a little bit stronger than the 2022 versions. We are working with the tyres in very hot conditions here and everything is still early days, so we still have a lot to learn and analyse. It will be interesting to see how they perform in cooler temperatures, which would reflect race temperatures better, when Max is in the car later on".
Max Verstappen continues:
"We completed our programme and got a first, basic understanding for next year, which I think worked out well. It's always nice, when you have the final compound construction, to get a few laps in but at each track the tyres behave differently, so it’s difficult to judge. Having said that, it's always better to have something rather than nothing. Overall, everything behaved quite normally, so it was a good day".
Liam Lawson is very excited as this was a great day for him:
"Days like today are very important. F1 testing is very limited, so track time is extremely valuable and I'm grateful that I got to drive the and to help the Team with development for next year. But also, for myself, it's really important as well. It’s so different to anything else we drive. Obviously, you go from junior categories to prepare for it, but honestly, nothing can. And today the sessions went really well. After a full day, I definitely feel more comfortable in the car and hopefully I’ll get more opportunities like this in the future".
Gianpiero Lambiase, Red Bull’s Head of Race Engineering, concludes:
"Everyone within the Team is fully aware that there is no room for complacency, and as such, we headed into the test with a full programme across both cars, which we were able to complete successfully. With the benefit of a thorough understanding of the RB18, the drivers focused their attention on evaluating the 2023 tyres. For Liam, the higher priority was his ongoing familiarisation of the car and Team’s operation trackside, particularly important in respect to correlation to our simulation tools, which he is an integral part of. It has been an extremely valuable day with plenty of data to go back and analyse over the coming days, which we can feed into the development of next year’s car".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, is satisfied with this day which ended the season:
"We've had a very productive day to complete the 2022 season. Both cars ran reliably throughout, which allowed Alex and Logan to run their intended programmes. Alex ran through a series of tyre tests, exploring the 2023 tyres at various track temperatures and fuel loads. Logan got his first experience of a proper day of F1 testing as well as some useful exposure to the 2023 tyres. We were able to do a lot more work with him than is possible during an FP1 session and everything he did will set him up nicely for the crucial pre-season testing that we will do next February. The timesheets don't mean very much today as every driver is completing their own programme. However, it was nice to see both drivers near the top having completed some very good laps on the softer compounds. Logan drove exceptionally well and fully deserved to be so close to Alex. We completed 200 laps of running today across the two cars and almost every one of these was done according to the plan and with a clear purpose. The engineering team put together a very well planned and executed day of testing, which sets us up nicely for the break before we hit the track again early next year".
Alex Albon thinks about the next season:
"Today at the post-season test we got good mileage in and everything went to plan. We got to test all the different compounds for next year and there will be a lot of data to look at over the winter months to try to understand the differences of the tyre, but inevitably there's not a huge difference, I think it's all small things. The hard work starts now working to make sure that we enter into Bahrain with the best possible car we can and I think today, with all the data that we have learnt, is going to help us do that".
Logan Sargeant says there is still a lot of work to do to prepare himself to his first season in F1:
"Today went well. Throughout the day we gradually progressed, got through our test plan and completed all the laps we needed to do. By the end of the day I felt super comfortable. It was really nice to get a full day rather than a FP1 to properly get to grips with everything. My season hasn't ended, there's a lot of work to do over the next three months to prepare myself for next season. I'll strictly be in the gym, on the simulator and working with everyone at Grove to ensure no stone is left unturned. I can't wait to be back out on track for winter testing for my first season in Formula 1".
On this day, Oracle Red Bull Racing confirms Daniel Ricciardo will return home and re-join the Team as the third driver for 2023. Bringing a wealth of experience and character, Daniel will assist the Team with testing and Sim work, as well as commercial activity. With 29 trophies to his name, there were plenty of high points in an excellent first run with Red Bull Racing. Immediately making an impact in his first year in 2014, finishing 3rd in the Championship and securing wins in Montreal and Budapest. Then onto 2015 and an epic Monaco performance and the fastest lap of the race, taking his maiden pole at the same race a year later. In 2016, he was also the only driver to finish all 21 races. 2017 saw Daniel win a wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix and take eight other podiums, before rolling into the 2018 season with a bang. He won two of the first six races that year, storming through the field in China and then who can forget that win in Monaco or perhaps just as iconic, that dive into the swimming pool? Since Daniel left the Team at the end of 2018, he has spent 2 years respectively at Renault and McLaren. Whilst he hasn’t seen the success he was accustomed to, he remains a phenomenal and highly respected driver who brings another layer of knowledge and expertise to the Team. Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner says:
"It is great to bring Daniel back into the Red Bull family. He has enormous talent and such a brilliant character; I know the whole factory is excited to be welcoming him home. In his role as test and third driver, Daniel will give us the chance to diversify, assisting in the development of the car, aiding the Team with his experience and knowledge of what it takes to succeed in F1. We’re very pleased to be working with Daniel again and look forward to everything he will bring to the Team in 2023".
Daniel Ricciardo says:
"The smile says it all, I’m truly excited to be coming back home to Oracle Red Bull Racing as their Third Driver in 2023. I already have so many fond memories of my time here, but the welcome from Christian, Dr Marko and the entire team is something I’m sincerely appreciative of. For me personally, the ability to contribute to and be surrounded by the best team in F1 is hugely appealing, whilst also giving me some time to recharge and refocus. I can’t wait to be with the team and support with simulator work, testing sessions and commercial activities. Let’s go".
On November 29, 2022, important news come from Maranello. Ferrari announces that it has accepted the resignation of Mattia Binotto who will leave his role as Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal on December 31. Benedetto Vigna comments:
"I would like to thank Mattia for his many great contributions over 28 years with Ferrari and particularly for leading the team back to a position of competitiveness during this past year. As a result, we are in a strong position to renew our challenge, above all for our amazing fans around the world, to win the ultimate prize in motorsport. Everyone here at the Scuderia and in the wider Ferrari community wishes Mattia well for the future".
Mattia Binotto says:
"With the regret that this entails, I have decided to conclude my collaboration with Ferrari. I am leaving a company that I love, which I have been part of for 28 years, with the serenity that comes from the convinction that I have made every effort to achieve the objectives set. I leave a united and growing team. A strong team, ready, I’m sure, to achieve the highest goals, to which I wish all the best for the future. I think it is right to take this step at this time as hard as this decision has been for me. I would like to thank all the people at the Gestione Sportiva who have shared this journey with me, made up of difficulties but also of great satisfaction".
The process is underway to identify Scuderia Ferrari’s new Team Principal and is expected to be finalised in the new year. We now have to wait until March 2023 for the first race of the 2023 Formula 1 season, the Bahrain Grand Prix. It will be an interesting event, due to all the changes made in several teams, so all eyes will be on track. It closes with this news this chaotic Formula 1 World Championship. The hope, as far as the 2023 season is concerned, is that we can see more action among the top positions, that Mercedes can return to fight for victory, and that Scuderia Ferrari can regain some serenity after years of great difficulty.