McLaren-Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso is looking forward to completing the final race of the 2016 season this weekend, in what has been a huge learning curve for the Woking based squad this year.
The Spaniard enjoys the wind down to the end of the F1 year, knowing pre-season testing is soon to come, and loves hearing the cheering crowd as the drivers take to the track for the last time of the season.
“I enjoy racing in Abu Dhabi every year. Not just because it’s become synonymous with the end of the season, but there’s a unique atmosphere there – a combination of the ‘end-of-term’ feeling, anticipation ahead of the winter development push and the buzz from the fans as we go racing for the final time in 2016.”
Another bonus of racing at the Yas Marina circuit for Alonso, is that it takes place during the twilight hours, making it a more interesting and fun spectacle for drivers and fans alike.
Although the Abu Dhabi track does not really suit the characteristics of the MP4-31, the Spaniard will be working hard with the team to extract the best performance from the car.
“From the cockpit, it’s incredible to race at twilight and watch the light fade as we complete lap after lap. It brings a new dimension to the spectacle and makes the whole weekend really enjoyable.
“The faster first sector and the two long straights in the middle sector at Yas Marina mean that it isn’t a track that will naturally suit our package, but over the course of Friday we’ll work hard to dial in the car to make the most of what we have and extract as much performance as possible.”
It has been a successful year for the Woking based team, who have come on leaps and bounds since 2015, and all at McLaren-Honda will be hoping to carry those positive steps forward into 2017 as well.
It will also be the final time Alonso and Jenson Button will race together as team-mates, as the Brit embarks on a one-year sabbatical in 2017. The Spaniard has stated that he will miss working alongside the Brit, but is happy that he will be remaining as part of the McLaren-Honda set-up.
“For McLaren-Honda, this race marks the end of a significant year for the team, and the last time I’ll race with my team-mate Jenson for the foreseeable future.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with him and I’ll miss him being in the garage next to me, but he’ll still very much be part of McLaren-Honda’s plans and I want to wish him all the best for the exciting things he has in store for the next step in his career.”