F1 2021
Round 22

Our Last Dance

ae Yas Marina

This is it. The last dance. 7 seasons, 142 races, many tears and even more memories later, our last Formula 1 race is upon us.

Our Last Dance

This weekend in Abu Dhabi will see the Drivers' Championship and Constructor's Championship decided in a dramatic duel in the desert between Red Bull Racing Honda and Mercedes. Whatever happens, there really is nothing else to say other than, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making these years so special. This one’s for you.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
We now come to the final race of the season, at its usual venue in Abu Dhabi. Although we know the Yas Marina circuit well, the track layout has been changed since last year and several corners have been modified. The track is now slightly shorter with a group of 90 degree corners replaced by one high speed banked turn at the end of the back straight. Other corners have also been made quicker and there is no chicane now before the hairpin that leads onto the back straight. The idea is to create more overtaking opportunities and one other result of this is that it will have an effect on our PU energy management. Over the weekend, we will maximise PU performance using data from past races and our simulation for the new layout, as well as the track data we acquire from Friday practice. Needless to say, this is also the last race of this Honda F1 project, our last time racing with Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing who have both been incredible partners and great to work with. In addition we will be fighting hard for the championships, with Max and Lewis equal on points. We will keep pushing to the very end. We have put up a really strong fight so far and had some great battles in this year’s races. All Honda staff involved in this project are absolutely determined to win and in order to do this we will be pushing as hard as we can. We have enjoyed strong support from our fans throughout our time in Formula 1 and I hope they will be with us all the way to the chequered flag this Sunday. 

Masashi Yamamoto
Masashi Yamamoto
Honda Racing F1
Finally, we have come to the last race of the season here in Abu Dhabi. It's an important moment and not just on the track, because this weekend marks the culmination of Honda F1’s latest seven year stint in Formula 1. It is therefore with mixed emotions of sadness and happiness and many memories, both good and bad that I look forward to this last weekend. However, it’s also true that the championships are not yet decided and, along with Red Bull Racing, we are fighting hard against Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton for both titles, therefore even if our time in this sport is coming to an end, our commitment to performing at our best this weekend is as strong as always. Honda returned to Formula 1 in 2015 and the project did not always go smoothly, with many highs and lows and it was very tough, especially in the beginning. When I think back to those early days, I am very proud that today we are going into the last race of our final year, about to fight for the championship. Winning the titles has been our dream and we have progressed towards it step by step. Now, that dream is almost within our grasp, but I honestly do not know if we will be smiling or crying after Sunday’s race. All our team members will go into this weekend, alongside our colleagues at Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri, ready to show Honda’s challenging spirit. We will be following our dreams all the way to the chequered flag, dreams we share with our fans who have supported us through the bad times as well as the good and we know they will be with us as we chase this dream to the very end and we thank them for that.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
First of all I’m excited to be back in Abu Dhabi! Last year is not always a good reference in terms of result as there were multiple factors that contributed to it. We've been lacking a bit of pace for the past few races but hopefully that won’t be the case this weekend.

The Yas Marina Circuit has had a few changes and the track is much faster now. It’s going to be interesting to see how it will affect the setup of the car. It’s very important to have a good qualifying in Abu Dhabi so hopefully we can make that happen.

We’ve had a lot of wins and good moments this year, and we’ve been a lot more competitive in general, compared to the years before. So as a Team, we can be very pleased and proud of what we have achieved this season. We are level on points and I know that we as a Team are going to give it all to win this Championship. This is going to be an exciting race and we want to finish the season in the best way possible.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
We had good pace in Jeddah but unfortunately, we were not able to capitalise on it during the race and the weekend. We were really unlucky with the red flag there and the rest wasn’t an ideal day but we will keep pushing and we will not give up.

Yes, the track layout has changed quite a bit since last season, it has become a lot faster than before so it will be interesting to see how every single car copes with it. I am looking forward to getting out there on Friday to drive it for myself. 

It has been a great season, for the fans and for the Team. We have pushed ourselves to the maximum, we have given it our all and we will continue to do so until the last lap.

It has been a hectic first year with Red Bull Racing Honda! I finally feel at home with the Team and I am looking forward to achieving more together next season. We have everything in place to start on the right foot in 2022 and I hope it will be a successful year for the Team.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
That race in Jeddah is possibly the craziest race I have ever been in. I had to wait until I watched it all on TV to see all the battles and incidents and understand everything. Over a single lap, the track was brilliant to drive, but it got a bit crowded in the race! We showed good pace again right from free practice on Friday and that resulted in another fantastic Qualifying. In the end, I started sixth and finished sixth which is great, even though after the start I lost some places, but it's the final result and points that matter. And speaking of points, I am happy to have reached 100 points total for the first time in my F1 career.  

Last year in Abu Dhabi I scored some points, starting tenth and finishing eighth. I’ve always liked it and there’s a special atmosphere as it’s the last race of the season, the end of all the hard work over a year. And even the track itself is quite interesting, although the layout has been changed for this year, making it overall a bit faster and more flowing, so I’m looking forward to seeing what effect that has on making overtaking easier.  

The weekend also marks the end of an era as it is the last time we race with these cars, the ones I’ve known since I started in F1, before the very big change to the technical rules comes in for next year, with new wheel sizes and a completely new look and design for the cars. So, it would be nice to end what has been a very good year for the team on a high note, showing a strong performance at the final race.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
The Saudi Arabia track definitely produced the exciting race everyone had predicted, even if my own Sunday did not go as well as it should have done. I really loved driving that track, with the high speeds and the walls so close. In the race I had quite good pace, but I should have been more patient in trying to overtake Vettel. It’s another lesson to learn from this rookie season, but overall, I am quite pleased with my driving at the moment. 

As for Abu Dhabi, I have never raced there, but I have driven the Yas Marina track before in a Formula 1 car when I took part in the Young Driver Test at the end of last year. I still remember that test very well. I had driven an F1 car before, but never the current car from that actual season. It was very exciting for me, especially the first time out of the garage.  

But actually, there will be new things to learn this year for everyone, as they have made quite big changes to the track layout to try and make overtaking easier. My first impression is that it’s now a much faster and more flowing layout and so it will be interesting to see what effect that has on tyre wear for example, as that used to be a consideration in the past. Even if the track will be very different, I still feel as though I know what it is like from my past experience there. It should be easier to adapt, so I plan to maximise the opportunity and score as many points as possible. It will be the last time I am racing as a rookie, so I plan to enjoy my last race with this status and see if we can finish the season on a high.

Published on