D he Formula 1 countdown running. On Friday (23.11.2018) the 20 pilots started the last training rounds of the year in Abu Dhabi. Of course, everyone wanted to put a positive exclamation mark on the grand finale before the long winter break started. For some drivers it was even the last Friday training session in Formula 1 at all.
For example, Marcus Ericsson will be leaving the IndyCar series next year. His spin at the exit of Turn 1 in the first training session certainly doesn't mean that the Sauber mechanics will particularly miss him. Fernando Alonso is also about to leave the premier class. On Friday you could admire his special farewell paint job on the McLaren in action for the first time.
Hamilton changes the start number
Lewis Hamilton had also come up with something special for the last race weekend of the season. For the first practice session, the world champion had start number 1 stuck on the nose of his Silver Arrow. The FIA allowed the number game. Officially, the Briton was still listed in the statistics with the '44', which was also big on the bonnet. In the second practice session, the '44' was on the nose again.
However, more important for the engineers than new paintwork and numbers was the collection of test data in the free practice sessions. Because the first session in the hot midday sun is not representative of the conditions in qualifying and in the race (after sunset)is, most of the technicians used the prelude for extensive aerodynamics tests.
Basic work for 2019
Many cars were on the move with aluminum grilles fitted with sensors. Extra-mounted cameras also recorded video images of bending wings during the journey. The engineers tried to get closer to the air flow and thus do basic work for the development of the 2019 cars. During the tire test drives in the coming week, the FIA banned the teams from driving with experimental parts.
In the gallery we have collected the action pictures from the track and the highlights from the technology front for you .