F1: Abu Dhabi Preview

F1: Abu Dhabi Preview

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Nico Rosberg will be hoping to take his maiden championship
(Photo from: www.formula1.com)

After a record breaking year, the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship comes to an end this weekend as the season finale being held at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. After 20 races, two drivers remain in the fight for the driver’s title. For the third year running it is the Mercedes teammates of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who between them have won all but two of this year’s races.

For the first time in those three years, Rosberg is the driver in control of the standings as he holds a 12 point lead over his teammate ensuring that he only needs to finish third to win his first title.

On the previous occasion that the duo fought for the championship at Abu Dhabi it was Hamilton who came out on top, after Rosberg’s car suffered problems leaving him a lap down and finishing 14th.

This will be the eighth time Abu Dhabi has held an F1 race having made its debut in 2009 and has played host to two previous championship deciders, the other being in 2010 when Sebastian Vettel claimed his maiden crown. Having cost £800 million, or $1.322 billion, to construct, it is certainly the most expensive circuit on the calendar and also features a 5 Star hotel and a Ferrari World theme park. The circuit is located 30 minutes away from the capital of the United Arab Emirates, which creates a stunning backdrop for an ultra modern circuit, magnified as the race develops into the night.

Leading up to this weekend’s finale various stories have developed regarding 2017 and driver announcements.

The first being that Marcus Ericsson has been officially confirmed at Sauber for the 2017 season, continuing to drive for the Swiss outfit for a third season. The Swede is hoping that financial stability will propel him and the team up the grid next season, as F1 goes into a new era of regulations. Continuing with Sauber, Pascal Wehrlein has emerged as the leading contender for the second seat at the team having missed out on the Force India drive. The current Manor driver has had a fantastic season and will hope to take that form into the new year, wherever he ends up.

Away from driver announcements and rumours McLaren have confirmed Zak Brown as the new executive director of the McLaren Technology Group following the forced resignation of Ron Dennis. Brown, a former professional driver, joins after resigning from the CSM board earlier this year and was rumoured to be a part of Liberty Media’s plans. Dennis will remain on the board of McLaren.

The final piece of news regards the F1 calendar as this week Malaysia revealed that it would not be renewing its deal to host a Grand Prix, which runs until the 2018 season. The country has been struggling financially to hold an F1 Grand Prix in recent years, following dramatic crowd falls.