The final race of the year also brings the curtain down on Kimi’s days in red, ahead of Kimi’s last race with the Scuderia, both he and Seb sum up the season
“This is my last race with Ferrari, I’m excited and will try to have a good weekend. At the moment, though, I don’t feel any different to any other end of season race. I’m leaving the team, but we have a very close relationship in many ways. Last night the team organized a party for me, it was a really nice surprise, it was great to have all the team together. It’s so nice to see how much they all appreciate my efforts and I wanted to thank all of them. I don’t see any reason why I should be sad; we’ve had a great time together in two different periods of time, with some difficult days, but that’s all part of the game and I think it makes it even nicer. We won the Drivers’ Championship and two Constructors’ Championships together, I couldn’t ask for more; I’m glad that we managed to do that, it’s great what we achieved. It’s going to be special memories, in the future we are all going to be friends and that’s also important. We’ve come a long way since I returned to Ferrari in 2014; we made a huge step forward and today, everything is definitively going in the right direction. Some things still need to be improved, but it’s the same with everything, the work never ends and we always try to do better”.
“Overall, I think this has been a good year, but not as good as we wanted, which is clear if you finish second in both Championships. We had a season of highs and lows, so naturally you would like to finish the year on a high. Then we’ll have to focus on how we can do our best for the next one, but first of all, I want to do well here this weekend. I hope the car will be strong and hopefully we can have a good race here in Abu Dhabi. I haven’t thought about the future yet, but the most important thing for me will be to start the new season happily. I think we’ll need a stronger package, as sometimes this year we lacked a bit of speed, but we are working hard to make that step forward and make the difference. All the people working at Ferrari are passionate about their job and feel privileged to be part of this team!”
The final round of this very long season will come to an end on Sunday night, in the picturesque setting of Yas Marina. However, 2018 Formula 1 track action won’t quite be over by then, because on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, the Abu Dhabi circuit will host the final test session of the year, given over to evaluation and development of next year’s Pirelli tyres. Scuderia Ferrari will be represented by what is in fact its 2019 line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
The Grand Prix in the Emirates will also be Kimi Raikkonen’s swansong wearing red, after eight seasons with the Prancing Horse team. The first stint, during which he won the world championship, went from 2007 to 2009, while the second started in 2014. As of today, Kimi is fifth in the list of most GP participations and with at least a further two years of racing ahead of him, the signs are that he could end up at number one!
The Scuderia’s trip to this race began when the advance party left on Saturday and those involved in the test session won’t return until Thursday 29th. Apart from the possibility of a couple of drops of rain over the next two days, the Abu Dhabi forecast has no surprises in store for when cars are on track, with temperatures in the 30s for practice and the race. As always here, the night time running adds that something extra to the weekend.