Abu Dhabi GP: Preview - Alfa Romeo


This weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark the final chapter of a crazy 2020 season, a year that threw the sport - as well as the world - into turmoil for reasons that extend way beyond the realm of competition and entertainment.

As the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, the sport, like most other businesses, ground to a halt for the best part of four months. The engines went quiet, the garages shut: Formula One forgot about cars and played its part in tackling the sanitary emergency as people did sacrifices for the common good.

In this landscape, as the world emerged from the first lockdowns in early summer, the sport got back to action. Back in July, as we assembled in Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix, we didn't know how many races we would be able to compete in. Among the nose swabs, the novelty of facemasks and the restrictions on mingling that swept the paddock, few would have anticipated that the final calendar would feature 17 races: to pull that off is testament to the efforts and planning of the FIA and Formula One, with the co-operation of the competing teams to allow the sport to race.

And race we did. It was an incredible season, peppered with unexpected results, thrilling races, and heart-stopping moments. We punched the air in triumph, we slammed doors in anger as we criss-crossed Europe and beyond in five and a half months of crazy, intense racing.

The on-track results for us may have not been what we were expecting at the start of the season, but we were there. We will regroup, improve and come back stronger for 2021. A final chapter still awaits to be written: we will aim to finish the season well before a little bit of deserved rest... and before we start going again next year.

Back in pre-season testing, seemingly a lifetime ago, in Barcelona, nobody would have thought the season would end up being like this. It did - we were there, and this was our story.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: "We approach the final race of the season with an eye to this weekend's race and one to next year. The transition to 2021 will be quite unusual, unlike any we have done in recent years, and we need to make sure we get our priorities right to maximise our performance both in 2021 and 2022. At the same time, there is still an important job ahead of us in Abu Dhabi and we cannot afford to approach the final race without the right attention. The fight in the championship is still close and we have seen throughout this season that chaotic races with unexpected results do happen. We need to place ourselves in the position to be those who benefit from it if this is how the race unfolds."

Kimi Raikkonen: "It's been a long and intense season and there's one more race to go before we can go into the winter break. Of course, you want to finish well but the race is not going to be different from all the others. The track in Abu Dhabi is one we know quite well, so you wouldn't expect many surprises, but this year has shaken up the order often so who knows what we are going to get. If we have a chance, we have to be ready to take it. We had a couple of tough weekends that didn't really show the progress we made, so hopefully we can get back to fighting for points and go home for the holidays with a smile."

Antonio Giovinazzi: "Abu Dhabi is a nice location to end the season and we aim to finish on a high. With so many triple-headers there is hardly any time to breathe, but the positive is that you don't lose focus between races and it's a lot easier to get into the rhythm of the race weekend. We haven't been able to show our true pace in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi is another track where overtaking can be tricky, so we have to maximise every session to be as far high as possible come race day. We want to be in the battle for the points on Sunday and show all we can do, before we can close the season off and recharge our batteries in the break. I am looking forward to catching up with my family and friends, it's been a very tough year with so many races in such little time and in quite extraordinary circumstances. I think everyone will relish some quieter times before we start all over again in 2021."

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Published: 08/12/2020
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