Giorgio Piola - Abu Dhabi GP Thoughts

The 2019 season ended with the victory at Abu Dhabi of Lewis Hamilton: a 360 degrees champion who is strong on all the key areas a driver needs to be. The first laps were very exciting and even the two Ferrari seemed to be able to compete despite ending up far, far away from Hamilton when all was said and done. We were also able to witness an exciting fight between Leclerc and Verstappen, the two drivers that seem destined to be the future of the sport and idols for future generations of fans. There was also great affluence of public which included many VIPs from the royal family; this is always a plus in a Formula 1 where money is never enough. Despite these highlights, the race was a boring one; not as much as the soporiferous French GP but bad enough to be second only to that race. Unfortunately, F1 moves where the money is. In the case of Abu Dhabi we have this track which is probably the worst one designed by Hermann Tilke. The absurdity of this track is evident in the exit from the box. In a place like Abu Dhabi where space availability is not an issue and where they could have had an ample exit, they decided to build a tunnel coming out of the box. Until now in F1, nothing has happened but, eventually, a car will remain stuck in the tunnel that, to make matters worse, also has a very narrow curve. Whenever that happens, the race will need to be suspended or have a long red flag. On top of this, the track in general is designed in a way that doesn’t allow for good racing. Again, this is a similar situation to Paul Ricard and these are the issues we should be talking about instead of the cars. These tracks need to be reconsidered or improved for the future spectacle of the sport.

I think 2020 will be a transitional one, a bridge between the current situation and the new one we will have with the implementation of the 2021 rules. In my view, in 2020 we will see an even bigger advantage from the big three teams compared to the rest. Expect to see see overspending in development from the big teams considering that, beginning 2021 they will have budget caps. This will reflect in a bigger gap between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull with the rest of the pack.

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