In the words of Fred Flintstone, it’s Yabba Dhabi Doo as we leave behind the cold, frosty mornings of Enstone and Viry and say hello to the scorching heat of the United Arab Emirates for the 21st and final race in 2018.
After travelling approximately 160,000km this year – or four times around Earth – it’s been long and arduous, but equally, enjoyable and memorable. One last hurdle remains, like the 30th at Aintree in the Grand National. One last trudge to the line to round off an enduring season. That final obstacle is warm, comfortable and very welcoming. The Yas Marina Circuit has amazing facilities with everything and anything you need on hand. It’s also pretty sweet to end the year in the heat, which is something you need in the middle of November when you want to dust aside that cold and get away from the early Christmas adverts on the box.
The circuit is unique and based on a swish island, set next to the impressive backdrop of the marina. The race itself is also very cool, starting under the natural light of the sun and ending under the 4700 artificial lights around the track. Fireworks and other bits of showbiz pyro round off the race to really underline the razzamatazz of a season-ender.
Away from the track, there is plenty to see and do in Abu Dhabi. From cooling off from the heat at the Yas Water World to taking in a mix of French-Middle Eastern culture at the Louvre or even checking out the camels in the desert, you would be hard pushed to be bored in the UAE.
Not only does this race mark the last one of the season, it will also be a little emotional as we bid farewell to one of our Spanish employees. It’s been great fun working with Carlos for the past 14 months. From a racing point of view, he’s been awesome to watch behind the wheel and he’s just as good value outside of the cockpit. But before he swaps the trendy black and yellow colours, for the legendary papaya hues, he still has one last outing to negotiate and he’s determined to end this part of his career on a high.
After the race, everyone who is fortunate enough to work and travel in Formula 1 will have a much-needed break. Oh wait, no, the champagne is on ice in fact. There are still two days of testing to get through before it’s home time. So near, yet so far. But, yes, after those two days it will be time for a little chill for all those involved, before the work ramps up for 2019 and the arrival of a certain Australian, whose name rhymes with Canny-Mick.
Talking of Australia, it’s just 114 days before we hit the track at Albert Park. Until then, sayonara travel blog readers.