At least one aspect of Formula 1 became much clearer this week, as the teams and drivers moved to the middle east and the 5.554km Yas Marina circuit for round 18 of this year’s campaign – the silly season is nearing its conclusion.
Three seats have been confirmed since my last entry on Monday evening and it is difficult to find argument with any of them – save perhaps for the Hulkenberg move to Sauber. Certainly on the team’s side, the young German is a great replacement for the out-going Sergio Perez, but you must just wonder slightly from his standpoint, whether a seat at the Swiss squad is really that much of a step up. Would another season at Force India really have hurt his chances of securing a top drive in years to come?
Despite this, I hope Hulkenberg can make the move work. I have commentated and studied Force India as one of my teams at length over the past few years, and I have no doubt that he is a race winner in waiting. A championship victor? Possibly. It needs more time before you can guage how he performs in the intense pressure of a title fight spanning a period of months, but he has all the drive, skills and tenacity to come good and join the exclusive champions club.
Weatherwise, conditions over the past few days have been nothing short of fantastic – far from what the local weather agency had predicted. Yes, there was a breeze in evidence, but nothing like the strong winds and subsequent showers that hammered Abu Dhabi on Monday. For once I decided that the national forecast was more likely to deliver than the GFS model – which I have trusted for years. This proved to be a mistake and one that I will not be repeating over the weekend.
Practice day is looking excellent and the trend of unbroken sunshine will continue. During the morning and early afternoon there will be a light breeze, which will become a northerly as the drivers take to the track for the first session.
Wind speed will increase during the late afternoon period, becoming moderate during the evening session. Official sunset time is 17:42 GST so there will be some wonderful views as the natural light fades and darkness takes over during the second half of practice two.
Air temperature will reach a peak of 31 degrees tomorrow afternoon, dipping to around 29 Celsius by the end of the day’s activity. Track surface temperature will climb tthrough the 40-degree barrier, before dipping through the evening to just under 30 Celsius by the end of the second session.
With conditions looking stable through the weekend, it now falls to the course workers to get into their roadsweepers and make sure the surface is as clean as possible prior to the start of practice. Once the two sessions have concluded, I will be back to review the day and look ahead to Saturday’s running.