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Abu Dhabi preview quotes - Force India, Red Bull & more 30 Oct 2013

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 12 April 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 8 September 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 20 April 2013 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Toto Wolff (AUT) Mercedes AMG Executive Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 8 September 2013 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 19 April 2013 Alan Permane (GBR) Lotus F1 Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 8 September 2013 Tom McCullough (GBR) Sauber Head of Track Engineering.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 1 March 2013 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary. Sunday, 28 July 2013

Round 17 of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the paddock return to the Middle East and the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit, host of the only twilight race on the F1 calendar. Those involved in the 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix discuss their prospects for the coming weekend…

Paul di Resta, Force India
2012 Qualifying - 13th, 2012 Race - 9th

“We will certainly go to Abu Dhabi to try and repeat the performance (from India). The direction we’ve taken with the car recently is more of a back-to-basics approach, which has helped. It’s given me more confidence and I can be more committed with the car. That’s really important for a driver and it will help us for both qualifying and the race.

“I enjoy driving in Abu Dhabi because it’s a twilight race and one of the more spectacular events of the year - a bit like Singapore. As a track you don’t have to rely too much on aero performance because it’s mostly low-speed and that should suit our car quite well.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“Yas Marina is one of the most perfect tracks on the calendar because there’s not a stone out of place! It almost feels like a futuristic venue and with the harbour location it’s like a second Monaco. The track layout is not my favourite because it’s mostly low-speed, but as an event it’s certainly a highlight of the year.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - DSQ, 2012 Race - 3rd

“The race in Abu Dhabi is one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Starting at dusk and finishing in the dark makes it pretty impressive. I have special memories of the Abu Dhabi GP after winning the first race here in 2009 and then repeating the victory in 2010 to win my first world championship, that was an event I will never forget.

“The circuit is impressive: 5.5 kilometres, 55 laps counter clockwise with large run-off areas and a pit lane that leads through a tunnel to the other side of the straight. A few key points of the track for me are; Turn 1 because it is very difficult to see and is very fast. The last corners, (Turns 20 and 21) must be regarded as one, because you have to exit perfectly from the first to catch the last corner correctly. The trick here is to get on the throttle as early as possible in order to build up enough speed for the subsequent straight.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 2nd, 2012 Race - DNF

“Racing in the twilight and finishing at night with a spectacular backdrop; it’s a unique event in that sense. The track temperature is dropping during the race which is an interesting point for us, performance-wise, with the tyres. Also we’ll have a different visor tear-off for the first part of the race, for the first 10 or 15 laps we’ll have a dark tear-off because of the low sun in the last sector, and then when the sun has gone behind the grandstand we can get rid of that tear off and run a clear one for the rest of the race.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 8th, 2012 Race - DNF

“The Abu Dhabi weekend is a real favourite of mine and it's a great event for the fans, our partners and the team. It's also very unique as a twilight race and working on a different timetable makes a nice change from the usual race weekend. On the track, we will be looking to continue the pace and performance of the car that we saw in India and hopefully the result. It was a really positive weekend for me and I'm pleased that the team now has renewed momentum in our fight for second place.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 1st, 2012 Race - DNF

“The race in Abu Dhabi is always a fun weekend and one which I really enjoy. The circuit and the whole Yas Marina complex are so impressive and racing from the sunshine into the twilight is quite special. With three races left of the season, we are still pushing and there is a lot that our team can achieve in that period. It's all about consistency now and making sure that both Nico and I score good points so that we can keep the other teams behind us. We're up for the challenge!”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is undoubtedly one of the highlights on the Formula One calendar and a weekend that everyone at the team always enjoys. The uniqueness of the twilight racing and the wonderful facilities at the Yas Marina Circuit make for quite a spectacular show, both for the crowds at the track and for those watching on television. The circuit layout is challenging with the brakes under particular strain and overtaking can be tricky despite the long straights. This is a demanding period with four of the seven season-ending flyaway races now completed and I am pleased with how the motivation and commitment levels at our team are remaining so high. India was a strong weekend for us with some valuable points scored and we will aim to have another positive weekend in Abu Dhabi to consolidate our position.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“We delivered a good team result in India, with podium number eight this year and our biggest points total since the Belgian Grand Prix. Our target now is to build on that momentum in Abu Dhabi. We know what to expect at Yas Marina: a circuit where good traction is important, as well as strong straightline speed, and conditions in which it's important to look after the rear tyres, especially through the first stint when the track temperatures are still high. All of us in the team know that the battle for second place in the Constructors' Championship will go down to the final race. We are ready for the fight.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 6th, 2012 Race - 4th

“I think the whole team ought to feel encouraged by our pace in India last weekend. Although the race didn’t come together for me, our overall speed and consistency were the strongest they’ve been all season, and, as always, the race team delivered on all fronts to ensure that, strategically and logistically, we lost nothing to our rivals. We’ll certainly be taking that momentum into Abu Dhabi this weekend. While it’s a very different type of track - the final sector is much more stop-start and reliant on a strong mechanical balance - I’ve always enjoyed racing around the Yas Marina circuit and I think we can once again score points to consolidate our position in the constructors’ world championship. Now that the drivers’ world championship has been conclusively settled, I think the Formula 1 community will enjoy these last three races. While we’ll be competing with one another as fiercely as ever, we’ll also be treating our last three outings as opportunities to develop and understand the package we’ll take into the 2014 season. For me, that’s exciting: I’ll be looking forward to providing my input to ensure we end the year in as strong a position as possible, so as to be as well prepared for the new challenges of 2014 as we can be.”

Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 12th, 2012 Race - 15th

“I think that the Indian Grand Prix was my strongest performance of the season so far, and a good example of what I feel I’m capable of when I have a solid car beneath me, and the opportunity to push and press my opponents. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ll be aiming to carry that momentum over into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Yas Marina circuit is one of the most impressive and sophisticated racetracks in the world - the first two sectors, which are a series of high-speed sweeps and hard stops, are great fun to drive, while the final sector is a little trickier, because although it’s much slower it requires great precision. Getting the set-up right around here is always a compromise, also. After several races of poor luck, it was great to reverse that trend in India. Now, of course, I’ll be looking for another strong finish to carry me into my ‘home’ race in Austin, Texas, next month. I would love to be able to give my ‘home’ fans something extra to cheer about!”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“With three races remaining, and with the drivers’ world championship now settled, it’s only natural that Formula One’s collective focus should start turning towards 2014. However, there are three fantastic grands prix remaining this year, and, buoyed by a respectable result in India last weekend, we’ll be looking to ensure that we continue to maximise our performance at each of those last three rounds. In Jenson and Checo, we have two excellent team-spirited drivers who have motivated the entire workforce with their never-say-die attitude to this difficult season. Despite their contrasting fortunes in India last week, both guys showed the attitude and determination to fight hard from the race’s start to its finish. They have been an inspiration, often in adverse circumstances, and, in turn, the whole team is working hard to provide them with the machinery with which they can keep pushing until the very last lap of the very last race. I think everyone in Formula One enjoys the fantastic facilities on Yas Island, and the thrill and spectacle of a dusk race make this weekend a truly special event on the calendar. I hope we can once again deliver a good race - not only for the benefit of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but also for the benefit of Formula One as a whole, and most especially the fans.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 5th, 2012 Race - 1st

“It’s a great place to go. The circuit is connected to big entertainment centre and you’ve got all the boats moored next to the circuit. There are often a lot of passionate fans watching the race and for me the hotel is walking distance from the track which I like. It’s also good to race at a circuit where you have had a strong result before. I had a good result there last year, but I had a very boring race there the first time I visited in 2009. I’d prefer to have another good result, but you don’t know how strong you’ll be until you get to the circuit. The facilities are second to none. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking as there are not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be at the front and get a strong result from there. There are many corners, you need good overall downforce and grip, plus the car has to ride the kerbs very well too. It’s a track where you really hope to get everything nicely together during the whole weekend. When you succeed with that, it’s a good place to race. I have had one very boring race being stuck in the middle group and then one great race fighting for the victory at the top. I know which I prefer. The evening race time means I can get up later! Having a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights. It’s different, interesting and spectacular for the fans to watch too.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 10th, 2012 Race - DNF

“Yas Marina is an amazing facility and it looks so impressive. It’s not used as much as some circuits over the course of the year so we know we’re going to get lower grip at the start of the weekend. For me, the layout is not my favourite – there are too many second gear corners for my liking – but not every circuit can be your favourite and the E21 certainly seems to be liking every track at the moment! My history in Abu Dhabi isn’t bad. Last year wasn’t the best weekend for me, as I qualified tenth and did not finish the race. It was however a great race for the team, so we know what is possible. I’ve been on pole position in the GP2 Asia Series and finished second in that race, then won a GT1 racing World Championship round there. My comeback to Formula One was also during an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice session in 2011, so I’ve got some good memories of the place. It would be nice to have some more…”

Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
“Another win in Abu Dhabi would be fantastic and if Kimi could do the same again it would be a superb result. In a year we’ve made good progress. Our understanding of this year’s car and our design development processes are coming on well. We brought out the long wheelbase version of the E21 to prove a new method of assessing and evaluating our design development path, and this has proved to be a success. This is very good news for the future; especially as we look ahead to such significant changes in 2014. We head to this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a strong car and we’re in a position where both our drivers are performing very well at the moment, so anything could be possible.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“Kimi put in a fantastic drive (in Abu Dhabi last year) and was able to capitalise on Lewis Hamilton’s retirement. Similarly to our current E21 chassis, last year’s E20 managed its tyres extremely well and it happened to do so particularly well around the Yas Marina Circuit. With that in mind - added to the fact that Pirelli have been a step more aggressive in terms of tyre allocation this season - there’s no reason to suspect we can’t have a very strong weekend again here. You need a car which is capable of doing two things that aren’t complimentary of each other. You want a setup which is fast down the straights and supple over the kerbs, but also gives responsive change of direction for the chicanes and good grip through the slower second gear corners towards the end of the lap. It’s a fine balance to find between making time down the straights or through the twisty bits. Of course, this compromise must also factor in the tyres as running less downforce can be kinder on the life of the rubber in some circumstances, but at the same time a higher downforce setting will help avoid the fronts sliding on corner entry and the rears spinning up on exit. Having the medium and soft compound once again - as per last time out in India - will be a challenge I’m sure. Making the soft tyre last in the heat of Abu Dhabi will undoubtedly be tough. We need to keep one eye on track temperatures as they will start to drop away as darkness falls, but the drop-off is not particularly significant. We usually see ambient temperatures of around thirty degrees and this doesn’t change dramatically even in the evenings so it won’t be a problem; particularly with the tyre allocation here.”

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“Straight on to Abu Dhabi and race 17. I have a couple of days off to recharge after India which was obviously a disappointing end to what had been a pretty good weekend until my race ended so early. It’s good that the next race is in Abu Dhabi as it’s a track I know well having raced there in GP2 and run for two days in the F1 rookie test last year with Caterham. For me Abu Dhabi’s a great place to race, for the teams and fans. People used to have a go at the circuit layout but I think it’s pretty cool. The garages are air conditioned, the only ones like that anywhere we race, and that makes life a bit easier for the boys in the garage. That’s important, particularly as we go to Abu Dhabi straight after India, but it’s not just that, it’s everything about the circuit that makes it a great race. The organisers have worked really hard to put on a lot of entertainment for the fans, not just the racing, the facilities are top class and there’s a really good atmosphere around the whole place for the race week. After a tough couple of races the main goal is obviously to get back to the performance levels we were putting in at races like Spa. We have the pace on Sundays to fight, we have the determination to keep pushing the teams ahead and maybe we just need a bit of the luck that seems to have deserted us recently. Our time will come, I’m sure of that.”

Charles Pic, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - 20th, 2012 Race - DNF

“India didn’t go to plan at all, but with Abu Dhabi back-to-back with the Indian GP we have the chance to come back right away at a track we all know very well. Our car does seem to perform better when the track conditions are hot and even though we race from the late afternoon into the evening, it’s still hot so we are definitely aiming to get back to the performance levels we’ve targeted for this stage of the season. Before going to Abu Dhabi I’m doing a couple of days filming in Dubai with Renault and what they have planned looks really cool. I’m excited about seeing how it all comes out and even though it’s obviously still work it will be a good way to relax away from the circuit for a few days. After the filming I’ll be going to Abdu Dhabi and straight to work on Thursday. The track itself is a good technical challenge for both drivers and engineers and grip levels evolve a lot as the weekend continues but one thing we have to watch closely is how the tyre behaviour changes as the track temperatures go up and down - they can differ by up to 10°c between FP3 and qualifying so understanding how to get the best out of the tyres in the different conditions is very important. It’s also a track where you can overtake, at the end of the two long straights, so with DRS and KERS it’s a track where you do see fights up and down the grid – and that’s what both the fans and the drivers want!”

Jules Bianchi, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“We enjoyed a very strong race in India last weekend, so we are keen to carry this momentum forward with the advantage of just one week between races. Abu Dhabi is a fantastic venue to race at and I enjoyed the track a lot when I drove in FP1 last year. It’s quite exciting to be able to start a race in full daylight and finish it at night with the track artificially lit - another new and interesting experience for me. Our car performance is quite strong at the moment and we have the new suspension development to work with again here, so I’m really hoping for a race where I am finally able to make the most of those factors.”

Max Chilton, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“Taking part in FP1 at the Yas Marina Circuit last year was one of the highlights of my career and racing here for the first time is certainly one of the things I have been most looking forward to in my debut season. It’s a great circuit, in a part of the world I love. With GP2 Series running with us here in Abu Dhabi it has been nice to spend some time ahead of the business end of the week training and relaxing with drivers I raced alongside over the past few years. I had a great race last Sunday and it has been nice to reflect on that and think about how we can maintain our current stride with three very important race weekends remaining. Yas Marina Circuit is a tough track technically and physically, but I’m feeling confident and aiming for a repeat performance from India.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be another tough back-to-back for the race team, who have been pretty much straight on the case with unpacking the freight from India and setting up for the weekend ahead. The task is made easier by the fact that Yas Marina Circuit is a magnificent track - aesthetically pleasing, technically interesting and demanding of drivers and engineers. The Drivers’ Championship may have been decided but for us there are still three critical races ahead. We took a great deal of heart from our performance in New Delhi last weekend and we would hope to continue in much the same vein here this weekend. We will conduct a further evaluation of our new suspension developments on Friday morning and see how things go from there. Generally we are feeling positive about our current performance level.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - 11th, 2012 Race - DNF

“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a stunning event, especially during twilight when you get some really nice footage and pictures. The paddock is really nice and probably has the best atmosphere of the year with very modern facilities. The track is pretty tricky and technical, especially the last sector which has a lot of twisty, 90-degree corners. It’s easy to get it wrong and overdo it in qualifying. It’s not one of my most favourite circuits. I think it’s too much stop-and-go and it’s missing a flow. We will have plenty of work to do so we can understand the tyres.”

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“The Yas Marina Circuit is a great place to have a Formula One race. I really enjoyed racing there in GP2 and also testing for Formula One in previous years. The track is pretty straightforward and I have quite a bit of mileage there. Sector one has two high-speed corners that are fun. Sectors two and three have a few tight corners, which require a lot of traction. After the Indian GP we will approach the weekend in a positive way and look forward to getting the maximum out of it. In terms of racing, to me it doesn’t make a difference if we race during the day or at night, but the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi is always good, and I look forward to the weekend.”

Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
“The Yas Marina Circuit has three very different sectors. The first one is short with a medium and two higher speed corners, the middle sector is dominated by long straights and tight low speed corners, while the final sector is a relentless sequence of mainly low to medium speed corners. The nature of the track is typically hard on the brakes and rear tyres. As in Delhi, Pirelli will provide the medium and soft tyre compounds. The main aim during free practice on Friday will be to understand how these tyres work at a very different circuit. We aim to continue our strong run of getting into Q3 to give ourselves the best chance of scoring points on Sunday.”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“The way that the track temperature falls in Abu Dhabi obviously has an effect on both wear and degradation, meaning that teams are able to do longer runs even on the softer compound later in the race. There are some important implications for strategy here, which means that it’s often possible to try something different in Abu Dhabi than you would in other places, which might well pay off at the end of the race. As a company, Abu Dhabi is a circuit that we know very well because it’s where we did some testing before we started in Formula One. It’s also where the Formula One teams got to sample our tyres for the first time, back at the end of 2010. When it comes to the actual venue, Yas Marina is one of the most modern and spectacular circuits of the year with a number of different technical challenges that test most aspects of a tyre’s overall performance. Tyre wear and degradation isn’t especially high here: last year, when we also nominated the medium and soft, most drivers just stopped once. As the compounds are generally softer this year we’d expect two stops this time, although it’s quite possible that some teams might try just one. We will have to wait for the Friday running until we have a clearer picture of the time difference between the two compounds but overall we’d anticipate race pace among the frontrunners to be reasonably closely balanced, and it’s always under these circumstances that having the right strategy can really make a significant difference. Although there’s quite a high degree of track evolution, and conditions in free practice aren’t always representative of the race, the work done during the Friday and Saturday sessions will be instrumental in shaping each team’s understanding of which strategies are both possible and advantageous on Sunday.”

More to follow.

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