The F1 Abu Dhabi GP saw multiple farewells of drivers, whether from the sport or their respective teams, as details of young drivers’ test was also released.
Starting with the host of F1 drivers bowing out or changing teams for 2021, we have confirmation for six of them where two are certain to leave, while three are to switch outfits and one still to confirm his plans, whether to drive or not.
Additionally, two more are in the same boat without a confirmation. The two leaving F1 are Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, while the three changing teams are Sebastian Vettel (to Aston Martin), Daniel Ricciardo (to McLaren) and Carlos Sainz (to Ferrari).
Leaving Racing Point is Sergio Perez, while his future remains unknown. Another who is all but certain to leave is Daniil Kvyat, while Alexander Albon’s F1 future is still to be confirmed as well. Six from the eight drivers had their farewells in Abu Dhabi GP.
From Ferrari side, it was a serene scene for Vettel as they had host of events in the lead-up to the F1 grand prix for the German. He was handed a booklet of pictures with messages pre-race, while post-race, he was handed a trophy with all his wins engraved on it.
Additionally, he had a guard of honour leaving the garage as he reciprocated it with his own version of Italian song Azzurro. He also exchanged helmets with Charles Leclerc as a big chapter came to a close for Vettel with Ferrari, his childhood dream team.
Here’s details of all the celebrations, including the Azzurro song’s English translation and more: https://formularapida.net/vettel-serenades-ferrari-after-abu-dhabi-gp-says-hell-remember-gestures/
Here’s a special video from Ferrari for the grand prix: https://twitter.com/ScuderiaFerrari/status/1338419064968982528?s=20
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) December 13, 2020
Over at McLaren, Sainz was handed a signed engine cover pre-race as he signed off with his Smooth Operator song on the radio. Post-race was a double celebration, not only it was goodbye but also them finishing on a high with third in the standings.
Here’s the whole summary plus video links of post-race/radio: https://formularapida.net/sainz-norris-delighted-with-perfect-day-to-beat-rp-renault-for-p3/
Here’s end of tenure message: https://twitter.com/McLarenF1/status/1338461154876813312?s=20
Here’s pre-race briefing: https://twitter.com/McLarenF1/status/1338079170686029824?s=20
At Renault, it was more sedate with Ricciardo, as his two-year tenure ended with the French F1 outfit. It is not clear if the team presented him with anything but they did have a special video for him pre-race, although, no special photos were released from post-race.
Final one of 2020. Final one for Daniel with the Renault family.
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) December 13, 2020
Moving onto the F1 drivers whose future is not sorted, it was not the send-off Perez would have wanted after ending his seven-year tenure with Force India/Racing Point. After the high of Sakhir GP win, the Mexican retired from Abu Dhabi GP in dismay.
They already had nice memories in Bahrain which continued in Abu Dhabi despite the early end. Pre-race saw his team members greeting him well and post-race was a gift showcasing all his podiums since joining the F1 outfit.
Here’s pre-race message for Perez: https://twitter.com/RacingPointF1/status/1338076198296031234?s=20
Here’s the moment just before the race: https://twitter.com/RacingPointF1/status/1338100600374964225?s=20
Here’s post-race heartbreak: https://twitter.com/RacingPointF1/status/1338170913548869637?s=20
Seven years of brilliant memories. Thank you for being a teammate and a friend. We wish you nothing but the very best for the future, amigo. You'll always be part of the family ❤️ #GraciasCheco#AbuDhabiGP #F1 @SChecoPerez pic.twitter.com/qvNbU6APdP
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) December 13, 2020
For Albon and Kvyat, there were not much of a celebration as neither have anything confirmed but for the latter it is all but clear that he will make way for Yuki Tsunoda. The Russian took Abu Dhabi GP as his last race in F1 for the time being.
Over at Haas, though, Magnussen did get the chance to see the chequered flag, even though Grosjean missed the F1 grand prix. The Dane was gifted a steering wheel on Thursday, while post-race, he finished off with a donut and a nice message.
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) December 13, 2020
Here’s the pre-ace goodbyes: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2020/12/2020_Abu_Dhabi_Grand_Prix_FP1__Haas_say_goodbye_to_Kevin_Magnussen.html
Here’s the best of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgIofje1WBI
Abu Dhabi Young Drivers’ F1 Test:
While the F1 world bid goodbye to the 2020 season, there’s still one day of official track run left on Tuesday (December 15), where 15 drivers will get the chance to drive for the one final time. There will be only eight teams running, with McLaren and Racing Point missing.
There are 15 drivers as Haas is slated to only run one driver. It won’t be a tyre test from Pirelli as they will provide two sets of the 2020 C5 and five of the C4 to each of the drivers – it is not clear if everyone will have a car each or drivers will share it.
The COVID-19 has also forced Pirelli to scrap the usual post-season two-day tyre test. It is a non-televised run at Yas Marina circuit, with only teams sharing information on their social media, while it is also likely that there will be no live timing available too.
Here’s the full list of eight F1 teams and 15 drivers:
Mercedes – Stoffel Vandoorne, Nyck de Vries
Ferrari – Robert Shwartzman, Antonio Fuoco
Red Bull – Sebastien Buemi, Juri Vips
Renault – Fernando Alonso, Guanyu Zhou
AlphaTauri – Yuki Tsunoda, Marino Sato
Alfa Romeo – Robert Kubica, Callum Ilott
Williams – Jack Aitken, Roy Nissany
Haas – Mick Schumacher
Here’s Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel on test controversy
Here’s Toto Wolff, Christian Horner on line-up
Here’s 2021 F1 entry list