This weekend sees the FIA Formula 1 World Championship roll into the Yas Marina Circuit for the final race of the 2020 season, it has been a year of disruption caused by the global pandemic of COVID-19, but it is a year that has seen the sport adapt and work together to produce a fantastic end result.
Abu Dhabi also marks the final race for Carlos Sainz Jr. at McLaren before he heads to the prancing horse for 2021. Over the two seasons that Sainz has been with the Woking based team, he has formed part of a dynamic duo with Lando Norris, entertaining fans on and off of the track. It’s safe to say that the Spaniard is leaving McLaren in a much better state than it was in before he joined the team. Management and personnel changes along with a change in power plant has seen the former champions emerge as podium challengers once again.
For the last race Sainz knows there is still a job to be done, “As we approach the final race of the 2020 season, we go into the Abu Dhabi weekend with our heads held high. We’ve fought hard to be where we are at this stage of the year and you can be sure we’ll keep fighting until the end to get the best result possible. We had some good battles in Abu Dhabi last season and hopefully we’ll be able to do the same again this year.
“This will be my last race for McLaren after a fantastic two-year period. It’s going to be an emotional weekend, but first we need to go racing. I’ll be pushing hard for everyone in the team as we take on the final event of the season together.”
Norris looking forward to finishing year strong
Team-mate Lando Norris is looking forward to a familiar circuit after the challenge of the high-speed, short outer circuit in Bahrain, “After a tricky race on the outer circuit in Bahrain, we go to Abu Dhabi looking to end the season strongly. I think we can be really proud of what we’ve achieved as a team this season, especially considering how disrupted the year has been. We’ve come through our difficulties together, as a team, and had some pretty great moments too. I feel like I’ve made good progress personally and that’s something I’m looking to build on as we round out the season and head into 2021.
“The Yas Marina circuit is one of those tracks that requires you to be quite brave to make overtakes. The heavy braking zones are the best places to make a pass, so performing well in those areas will be crucial to a good race. We’ll give it one last push and try to finish the season on a high.”
Norris also acknowledged his partnership with Sainz, “Finally, it’s the last race with Carlos beside me as my team-mate. I’ve learned plenty from him over the last two years, and I’m sure he’s learned a bit from me too. We’ll be pushing hard together for the team right until the chequered flag, and I look forward to battling him on track again next year.”
Seidl praises F1 organisers and teams for 2020 season
Team Principal Andreas Seidl has been on a journey with the team since he joined them and is happy with the results he is seeing from the team. “As we come to the end of a remarkable season, we’ll be giving it our all to finish the season on a high and go home with a good final points score for 2020. This year has really been a story of several different chapters that we as a team have worked through together. To be in the position we’re in at this stage of the year is a real achievement, and proof of the progress we’ve made as a team.
“If, at pre-season testing in Barcelona, you’d told us we would be where we are with one race to go, I think the whole team would be very proud and happy with that. With that said, we are still very much in the fight, and we’re still pushing as hard as we can for a good result at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”
Siedl has been impressed with Formula 1, the FIA and the teams for managing to carry out the season this year as the global pandemic restricted where they could go to and when they could race.
“I’d really like to congratulate F1, the FIA, along with the teams, for putting this season together. To be the first international sport to resume during a global pandemic is no mean feat, especially in our sport, which is so dependent on travel and logistics. The measures taken to protect our sport and the communities we race in have worked incredibly well and have allowed us to go racing again while significantly minimising risk.
“Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to Carlos ahead of his final race for McLaren. Together with Lando, he’s made an incredible impact on our team over the last two years and has helped us move forward. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and all of us at McLaren wish him the best for 2021 and beyond. But before that, I look forward to taking on this final race with him in Abu Dhabi. As one team we’ll fight until the line, and we know he’ll give it everything too.
“For one last time in 2020, we go racing again, focused on ourselves as a team but ready to take advantage of any opportunities that come our way. I’m sure it will be an exciting finale!”