F1 Diary GP Abu Dhabi 2015

F1 diary GP Abu Dhabi 2015
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D the 2015 tour is coming to an end. Unfortunately on a racetrack that I can't do anything with. The Yas Marina Circuit is gigantic, but kind of over the top. Some also say: just sick. With the money that was buried in the desert sand, it would have been better to renovate a few routes from earlier. It would even have been enough to make the Nordschleife fit for Formula 1 again. If the race didn't go from day to night, no one would talk about it. At least this way the Grand Prix gets some atmosphere.

It doesn't help that the air has been out for 3 races. All decisions have been made. You can tell from the atmosphere in the paddock that everyone just wants to get this 19th race over with. After so long, everyone is looking forward to the winter break. Fortunately, the last flight of the year is not that long.

Colleague Tobias Grüner and I are still on our feet for twelve hours. By train from Stuttgart to Frankfurt. From there via Doha to Abu Dhabi. Qatar Airways offers the new Airbus A350. It can take on the Boeing Dreamliner. A great airplane.

By chance I saw its premiere in 2013 at the air show in Le Bourget. Renault presented its hybrid project in a pavilion at the exhibition center in the north of Paris, which is still not working properly. On this day, the Airbus thundered low over the airfield. And then the internet went down because President Francois Hollande floated in by helicopter.

Abu Dhabi hotels outrageously expensive

I'm digressing. Back to Abu Dhabi. And at outrageous hotel prices. When we flew to the emirate for the first time in 2009, we were able to spend the night in one of the 6 hotels within walking distance of the racetrack. That stopped in the third year. The prices got more and more adventurous.

This year the cheapest hotel in the complex wanted 5,500 euros for 5 nights. Even Monte Carlo turns pale. Still, some teams live there. Ferrari stayed with 60 people in a hotel next door that was even more expensive. Just work out how much the bill is. It would be really good for Formula 1 if the budget were capped. Then the teams would no longer be willing to pay these fancy prices.

In the city, too, hotel owners are hitting more and more. What used to cost 150 euros a night will no longer go below 300 euros. You driveto the route 30 minutes. Some colleagues move as far as Dubai. That's an hour's drive.

To be honest, I was pleased that many hotels had to drop their prices dramatically at the end because otherwise the rooms would have been empty. Abu Dhabi deserves that. I mean, they can print the money down there with all the oil they have. Then you don't have to rob the people with high hotel prices.

We change our hotel every year, always looking for a reasonable price. This time we found something again. We pay significantly less for 4 nights than the guests in the route hotels for one night. And even have a hotel car park. This is something worth doing in Abu Dhabi. When it gets dark, parking spaces in the city become scarce. When it comes to gasoline prices, everyone drives a car. Fill up the tank once for 11.50 euros. Only Bahrain is cheaper.

Discussion about new cars and Renault

At the last Grand Prix of the year there is much to talk about. The Formula 1 Commission meeting is only 2 days old. We hack our first story into the network at the airport in Frankfurt. It continues in Abu Dhabi. The cheap engine has crashed, but what will the new engine format look like for 2018? As always, there are 1,000 opinions.

Hopefully this time the engineers will only have a say in the matter. Otherwise another monster will come out of it. Engineers love technical challenges. In the dispute over the engines, the presentation of the 2017 car almost drowned. Let me take a quick look at the 4 computer graphics. But a memory log is not enough to provide our draftsman Giorgio Piola with a template. You need good friends in the paddock. Thursday lunchtime I have the drafts on my computer. Piola can get started. He promises the graphics by Sunday.

Then there is the Renault theme. Bernie Ecclestone hardly sees any daylight on the 3 days. Together with CVC boss Donald Mackenzie, he conferred several times a day with Jérôme Stoll, Renault Marketing Director. It's about an extra $ 100 million. Bernie promised it but doesn't want to pay it anymore. Renault threatens to exit if the money does not come. The great tremor begins with Lotus. Without Renault, the team can lock up. This time, too, the mechanics are only allowed to enter the garage after a delay. Ecclestone is raising the money to settle the old debts.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner provocatively says that his team finally has an engine contract. He just can't say which one. Everyone knows it's Renault. But this news must come from Renault. It looks like Red Bull wants to create facts. But what happens if Renault gets out? 'Then we get this year's engine without development,' says Horner. It sounds different with Carlos Ghosn. He threatensEcclestone with the total withdrawal. Relaxation is only announced on Sunday. Ecclestone made a new offer to Renault. Now Ghosn just has to say yes.

Hamilton is getting nervous

The Rosberg show continues. Hamilton is slowly getting nervous. And looks for explanations. Or excuses, depending on which side you are on. This time the setup is to blame. 'It's been different since Singapore. I wanted to go back to the old setup, but the team didn't let me,' said Hamilton. 'Nonsense,' say the engineers. 'Lewis can tune the car as he wants.'

At Ferrari, there's a fire under the roof. A tactical mistake banished Vettel to the eighth row. Once again one is too sure and believes that the allotted time is enough. Race engineer Adami only realizes at the last minute that it could be a close one. Vettel is sent on the track with super softs, but stopped after 18 seconds. The team does not notice that the German is already on a relegation zone and Grosjean is still on the track.

This is not the first time this has happened to Ferrari. Just because you want to save a fresh set of tires for the race. And then the wrong one. Vettel is so angry that he stomps into the Ferrari pavilion with his helmet on and skips the TV interviews for a few minutes.

Team boss Arrivabene chases a Sky cameraman off the Ferrari on the same day -Box. With inappropriate choice of words. Not very confident, Mr. Rennleiter. You can't sit in the stands in Barcelona and demonstrate proximity to the fan and then ensure that information and pictures are withheld from the fans. This is called hypocrisy.

The supporting program in Abu Dhabi is limited. We only come to a real dinner on Thursday. And there is traditional Wiener Schnitzel in a hotel restaurant. It doesn't get much better in Austria either. Perhaps that is because the shop is run by Austrians.

Sleepless night on race Sunday

Because they When we drive cars until it is dark, we don't get back to town until 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Then there are only pizza or burgers in the relevant chains. With soft drinks. Fortunately, our hotel has a pub. At least a beer to sink into is guaranteed.

Sunday brings another Rosberg victory and an even more perplexed Hamilton. Mercedes even lets him use his own tactics, but that doesn't help either. It's the longest day of the year. At 10 o'clock it goes to the race track. Work ends at 3 a.m.: auto motor und sport magazine, online and iPad, plus a sport auto story and the Formula 1 yearbook: The finale is here always a big battle day.

We're not eventhe last when we leave Two German and two Japanese colleagues save us. We're going straight to the airport. It's around the corner. At 6.30 a.m., it goes back to Frankfurt with a stop at the new Doha airport. I'm in the editorial office at 3 p.m. The work doesn't stop. Wrap-up of the last race, the whole season. And then this diary. Now the Formula 1 year 2015 is really over.


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