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2014 Abu Dhabi GP preview


trenthamsleaves1Abysmal F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks forward to this weekend’s race

There’s a crackle in the warm desert air here in Abu Dhabi. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t smell or taste it, but you just know that it’s there, assuming you are here, which of course I am.

I was saying as much to my dear friends Marty Brundle and Davey Coulthard only yesterday. There’s such a unique atmosphere to the Yas Marina, I suggested, and that makes the place a worthy venue in which to end the season. ‘I’m sorry but this is a private conversation,’ Mart quipped. ‘Please go away.’ Such a wonderful sense of humour!

Last night I intended to dine alone at Gino’s, a marvelous little Italian place I first discovered a couple of years ago after following a certain British world champion of the 1990s who shall remain nameless! To my delight, upon walking into the premises I spotted the chap in question was dining here too! What a charming coincidence, I observed. ‘Oh Jesus,’ he jested. ‘I’ve told you before, leave me alone you weirdo’. Then who should join in but my good friend Gerhard Berger who humourously called me a ‘fucking asshole’. I was still chuckling about this when a voice behind us said, ‘They’re right, you’re a pain in the ass and a total dick.’ Why, it was my great chum Niki Lauda! ‘Why don’t you do us all a favour and get out,’ chimed in my good mate Alain Prost. ‘He’s right,’ added my dear old buddy Mika Hakkinen. ‘Get out, you smug, annoying, pointless little prick!’ Wonderful banter!

So we come to our reason for being here in the flower of the desert’s rose; the dénouement of the 2014 season, and what a sensational showdown it promises to be. The double points rule comes under lot of criticism and I feel I have to speak out and say, it’s not my place to comment either way about the advantages or otherwise of this innovative and unusual system. What I will say also is that now is not the time to sit on the fence as to who will take the coveted championship. There’s everything to play for and everything to win as well as everything to lose. The million dollar question is, who will be the ultimate winner? To my mind the answer is simple: The winner will be Formula 1.

It has been quite a season. So many great races, all of them so much more enjoyable when you see them in person. As always in an F1 season it has also been quite an endeavour, travelling the world to take in all this action. So many flights, so many hotels, so many delightful dinners at charming restaurants. In many ways, it has been exhausting. Never has a quiet night’s rest in my modest London pied-a-terre sounded so appealing! But before all that, there is the small matter of one more race. I’m sure I will be on the edge of my seat this Sunday, although of course mine will be right by the track and I’m sure yours won’t be. Because remember, all season long, I’ve been here and you haven’t.