When the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix joined the Formula One calendar in 2009, it was clear that our sport had begun a new era. The glittering Yas Marina Circuit set the standard for every other circuit to aspire to with its facilities, safety standards and immaculate presentation.
That race, on 1 November 2009, was followed a fortnight later by the birth of the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS Formula One Team, with Daimler AG and Aabar Investments PJS taking a majority stake in the team – a takeover that was fully completed earlier this year in February. Abu Dhabi is home to Aabar, which means the penultimate race of the season is also the final ‘home’ event for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS.
Ross has already announced that the team is expecting “a busy and exciting race weekend, with special events taking place at the race track and in the city” and there’s no question that our partner and shareholder Aabar has decided to ‘go big’ for the Grand Prix. There will be dozens of activities around the weekend for fans and guests in order to highlight the deep links that bind the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team to Abu Dhabi.
Aabar will have a strong presence both at the track and away from it this weekend in Abu Dhabi. For the first time, the Aabar logo will have a trackside presence with official signage, as well as advertising and key information in the Grand Prix programme distributed on site. Away from the circuit, the official F1 Fan Zone – located on the scenic Corniche, in the heart of the city centre – will be sponsored by Aabar, bringing the sport closer to the fans, especially through the opportunity to test your own speed in one of the simulators Aabar have provided.
Of course, the team will also experience the remarkable hospitality of our local hosts during our time at the Abu Dhabi race. “It is one of our sport’s proudest success stories of recent years,” commented Norbert. “The facilities and welcome are second-to-none and embody the commitment to excellence that defines the country’s relationship with our sport.” Nowhere, of course, is that commitment to excellence as visible as on track itself, where the team will be doing everything they can to deliver a top six result, which is the limit of our current technical package.
The team will be cheered on across the weekend by 1,200 guests over the three days in the official Aabar suite. These special guests, composed of key investors, customers and officials from Abu Dhabi, will get a privileged view of the action from right above the team’s garage. No wonder Norbert highlights the “exemplary support and commitment of our partner and shareholder Aabar” while describing the race weekend as “an important milestone in our racing year.”
Of course, the other stars of the show will be our drivers, Nico and Michael. Michael, in particular, will be helping build the pre-race buzz attending a charity event, co-hosted with the Shangri La Hotel, on Wednesday. It is sure to be a spectacular evening!
But, as always, our focus will be on delivering out on track – where it matters most to our team members, partners and supporters. As Ross said last week: “On the back of a very good team performance at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, we will be working towards a similar result in Abu Dhabi. It would be a very great pleasure to achieve this at Aabar’s home race.”
Indeed it would!