Abu Dhabi – The long break since the penultimate round at Russia’s Sochi track is over and the Formula 2 engines are about to be fired up again for one last time in 2019, on the same card as the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Everyone is keen for the action to start, given that only a few fortunate souls, such as Callum Ilott, found a way of livening up the two month break by taking part in the Macau Grand Prix a fortnight ago. For the majority it will be a welcome change to be racing again.
Well known track. Ilott, Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi are all very familiar with the two straights and 21 corners that make up the 5.554 kilometre Yas Marina circuit. In recent years, the track has always hosted a round of the GP3 series, as well as the final Formula 2 test session of the year. With no need to learn a new track, the three Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) students can concentrate on performance right from the start of free practice on Friday morning.
No title aspirations. Positions in the classification are no longer a priority for the FDA trio who will just be out to get the best possible result this weekend. Ilott is eleventh on 56 points, five more than Schumacher and a top ten place in the championship could be theirs if either man finishes on the podium at Yas Marina. Alesi hope to reinforce the progress he has made since the summer break. In the past four races, the Frenchman has finished in the top eight three times and is hoping for a strong finish to his year.
Programme. Race-1 in the United Arab Emirates, for the Formula 2 field, takes place at 18.45 local time (15.45 CET) on Saturday, as usual run under floodlights. The second race of the weekend will be tougher, as it takes place at 13 on Sunday (10 CET) when conditions will be much hotter. The drivers will therefore have to work harder in what will be their final official appearance of the year.
Test. Before heading home after the race weekend, the teams are all staying on in Abu Dhabi for the usual three day test session, which gets underway on the following Thursday. This will be a first snapshot of what we might see in 2020, with some new faces creating plenty of interest.