The final race of the season will be under the setting sun in the Gulf.
Driver’s Eye: Sergio Perez
Sergio: “Abu Dhabi will be the closing chapter of a very unusual year for both me and the team. It was probably the most complicated season of my career, having to deal with so many things happening inside and outside the cockpit. The final race of the year is the opportunity to look back at the work we have done in the last twelve months and I am proud and grateful to everyone working back at the factory, in the garage, and in the hospitality. This team never stops fighting; we never stop working and now we are looking at a very promising future. I am really happy to be part of this family and I am already looking forward to 2019.
“I enjoy the Abu Dhabi race. You drive into the sunset and when all the lights come on it looks really cool. It’s a track that is very hard on the brakes, with a lot of emphasis on traction out of some slow corners. You need a very stable car at the rear to make the most of those braking areas. There are some unusual corner combinations that are interesting in the car and there are overtaking chances at the end of both long straights, so you often find yourself either attacking or defending, especially towards the end of the race.
“It’s a track where we have been competitive for the last few years and I would love to end the season with a strong result. I am still aiming for seventh place in the drivers’ championship. I know it is going to be hard, but on Sunday anything can happen and I want to be ready if the chance is there. The team is also aiming for sixth place in the constructors’ so we need to deliver a perfect weekend.
“After the race and next week’s test it’s finally going to be time for some holidays. I am looking forward to enjoying my family, time with my wife and my baby, and seeing my friends before work starts for next season.”
Driver’s Eye: Esteban Ocon
Esteban: “It’s always a bittersweet feeling when you get to the end of the season, but the main motivation is to finish on a high, especially when there is so much at stake in the championship. The last couple of races have been very disappointing, but there’s still one last chance to score a good result before the end of the year.
“Abu Dhabi is always good fun. We travel there when it’s getting cold in Europe so it feels a bit like you’re going on a holiday. It’s a wonderful paddock too – one of the best – and I always feel very relaxed there.
“I have a lot of good memories from Abu Dhabi: it’s the place where I first drove during a Formula One weekend and I was crowned GP3 champion there. The start of that race in 2015 was incredible – I knew I had to take the title right there on lap one and I did it."
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO
“We approach the race in Abu Dhabi determined to end the season on a high note. We’ve not delivered the results we needed in the last couple of races, which puts more emphasis on this weekend. Scoring points is a priority as we conclude a close fight in championship.
“Regardless of what happens this weekend, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on our second half of the season. It’s been a mixed bag of results with some highs and lows. There’s been a bit of bad luck, a few driver errors and some areas where we need to improve as a team. We will certainly take the lessons learned into next year.
“Despite a feeling that we haven’t maximised our recent results, it’s hard to fault the attitude of the team. It has been a challenging year with the reset after the summer break, but we’ve had an incredibly loyal workforce with a tremendous work ethic. I have no doubt we have the right people in place to take a step forward in 2019.”