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My Abu Dhabi Grand Prix preview

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Murray Walker | 17:43 UK time, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

So that is that then. The world championship has been decided and Brawn has won the constructors. But anyone who says there is nothing left to play for is wrong. Four world champions battling it out at a gleaming new track in the season's finale. I will have some of that please. Click on my race preview below to find out why I think the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could be one to savour.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Great foresight into the coming weekend. Murray must have thought he was in a "Time-warp" from his beloved Goodwood in the 60's to the futuristic Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit, wonder where he parked his DeLorean.....:).

    I agree, I think this weekend will by memorable, what with 2 past, 1 current and the future WDC competing totally devoid of pressure, absolutely great......who will WIN.......not even going to attempt to go there but just going to sit back and enjoy what I believe will be a STUNNING RACE.

  • Comment number 2.

    I really am looking forward to this entire weekend. The fact that the top place in each championship has been decided makes it almost more exciting and more interesting for me personally. So many of the drivers and teams have things to prove by ending this season on a high and dominating the first race at what promises to be a brilliant GP that the competition will be brilliant.

    We have McLaren and Ferrari of course needing to prove that they have what it takes to rise back to domination by the start of next season and the fight for 3rd place in the WCC. Lewis hungry to show that if his car is competitive he is still the dominant force in F1, Kimi keen to impress in his final GP for Ferrari as he looks to secure a seat at another top team and of course Button hoping to show that he is now the true WDC. Not to mention Barichello and Vettel hungry to end the season in 2nd place, BMW looking for a glorious curtain call to their F1 career and Red Bull keen to show that their cars may have lost out in both championships but they are still a force to be reckoned with.

    Basically, it should be great! :)

  • Comment number 3.

    Really looking forward to this one, should be rather special! Will be interesting to see if someone crashes in the pit lane exit at the beginning of a pit-stop window.

    By the way, could you ask the cameraman to stand still while filming, I was starting to feel quite ill watching the spinning goodwood background!

  • Comment number 4.

    You took the words right out of my mouth Murray, a couple of my mates have been whinging endlessly Brazil about how bad Abu Dhabi is going to be and its great that I can use you to back up the things I have said. :)

    Really hoping you get a decent 30min segment post season somewhere to give us your thoughts on the whole season (on and off the track) and your thoughts about next season.

  • Comment number 5.

    @4 100% back-up this request..........Please give it serious thought Murray............

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice preview Murray! Cant wait for it to start now... PS Does Murray live at Goodwood now?

  • Comment number 7.

    I actually think this race could benefit from there being nothing at stake. Everyone is now loosened up and free of nerves, and just want to be the first person to win on this new circuit. It's a different kind of pressure, one where you're not going to lose anything if you fail. But trust me, everyone there would love to be the first winner of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It should be tons of fun.

    Here's hoping Button takes it and (as if he needed to) cements his status as champion.

  • Comment number 8.

    This country loves to ponce around with its nostalgia doesn't it?
    While other countries look up to it, admire it, respect its traditions, they replicate its best virtues and take it to new and fabulous levels and beyond.
    And that is what Abu Dhabi have done...tonguetwisting aside!
    With the mess that is Donington and the hand bags between the BRDC and the F1 commercial powerhouse, who's to say that in 17 years from now the BBC will have Murray (yes - he will live forever) standing at Silverstone, and, as in Goodwood, look upon the British Grand Prix with a fondness and shame that this country no longer holds it because the likes of Russia,India,South Korea, and others understood the importance of the global branding of Formula 1 and the necessary investment needed ....

    The BRDC have been given a lifeline with the Donington farce and must literally capitalize upon it. A British Grand Prix cannot survive on nostalgia alone and Silverstone cannot excuse itself lagging behind other venues with second rate facilities. It's a mockery to the majority of teams based in this country that make Formula 1 what it's so embarrassing!

    I hope the race will be highly entertaining with now 4 world champions battling it out - with Alonso driving a Clio I can't quite see him amongst the front runners this weekend...

  • Comment number 9.

    Murray Walker's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix preview, is this really the best you can do BBC?

  • Comment number 10.

    Likewise I am looking forward to it. All the monsters unleashed and a real end of term feel in a place where they do seem to like their cars. I doubt they will have empty grandstands like in Turkey and the venue really does capture the imagination. I suppose it beats being at a sodden Silverstone with no shelter, twenty minute queues for a pee, and overpiced offerings masquerading as food.
    I do like nostalgia but it ain't what it used to be and the BRDC is foolish to think they can run Silverstone as a gentlemen's club, so somehow, they will ahve to get back to the future and give the spitiual home of motorsport the venue it deserves.
    As for Murray, there is nobody to touch him. He is the heart and soul of all things that burn hydrocarbons competitively. May he beat for ever!

  • Comment number 11.

    Whose bright idea was it to keep jerkily panning around Murray like that? It kinda worked for the first rotation to show of the track around him, but after that it was just ridiculous and distracting, sometimes you try to hard to add something extra to these segments when you don't need to.

    Anyway, enjoyed Murray's comments as always and learned some more about the track I didn't previously know, had no idea about that pit lane! It been great to hear what Murray thinks of the modern day F1 all season after many years without hearing much from him, and great to hear he's not lost any of his enthusiasm for the sport despite it moving into a modern age and beginning to leave the old days behind.

  • Comment number 12.

    @8 The BRDC has done huge amounts to improve Silverstone over the years.... The thing is Bernie wants them to pay full whack to host the race and spend millions improving the circuit and the only way that both needs can be met is if the government steps in and foots part of the bill... something our government is unwilling to do. I also believe there is more than a little bit of personal animosity between Bernie and the BRDC which just further complicates the situation.

    Silverstone has facilities that are on a par with other circuits in some regards and both better and worse in others, but it is certainly far from the worst track that F1 visits.

  • Comment number 13.

    Sorry, but I'd rather go to Silverstone than Abu Dahbi, and I had an invitation to go to the latter for free as well. Didn't take it up.

    I'm of the belief that F1 should go to tracks, provided they can afford the circuit hire charge, like everyone else. F1 has now cost the UK one of our great circuits with the mess caused at Donington. I hope that Tom and Kevin Wheatcroft kick out this idiot Gillet (or whatever his name is) and repair the damage he's caused chasing the folly of a series that doesn't even pay for using the venues. I don't know why Silverstone has put up with F1 over the years.

    Oh and Roy... Please don't go around in circles when you're filming Murray. I now have a headache!

  • Comment number 14.

    Feeling Dizzy!

    Abu Dhabi is a pretty nice track, it's a shame there aren't a couple more fast corners but it'll be interesting to watch the F1 cars through the chicanes. It should be good for F1 to visit a country that's very keen on cars too, I could see this track staying on the calendar a while.

    Thirding what #4 and #5 said about the season review as well :)

  • Comment number 15.

    I think the Abu Dhabi race will be very interesting even though the championship race is over. Britain should be proud of Jenson Button, he's a true sportsman and gentleman.

  • Comment number 16.

    As Abu Dhabi is new to the calendar, how long til Bernie Ecclestone utters something along the lines of "This is what Silverstone should aim for"?

    And talking of Silverstone, anyone seen the proposed new layout in Autosport should F1 stay there long term? No more Bridge or Priory, Abbey becomes a fast right-hand kink, and also the new Turn 1, because the pits would move to between Club and Abbey. From Abbey the track goes backwards down the international circuit to a hairpin, and then back up the National Straight to priory and Brooklands. Club will be almost2x 90degree right handers.

    What do people think? Anyone think it will improve the GPs there?

  • Comment number 17.

    great video murray.

    I can't wait for Abu Dhabi, and that pit-lane exit looks fantastic. Plus, it's the first ever day/night race in F1. Personally, I'd like Jenson to win, so it would cap his season, although if it's a circuit that favours KERS, then I'll probably go with Hamilton. But I wouldn't rule out either of the Red Bulls, or Barichello, or Raikonnen for that matter. And besides, as you so brilliantly put it, "Anything can happen in F1, and it usually does!". I just can't believe how quickly the season has gone. Still, can't wait for Sunday!

    PS: CNW0429, I haven't seen Silverstone's new proposed layout, but for me, personally, I don't think that the track should be changed. Look at Monaco: unchanged for years, and it still attracts huge crowds. Tracks shouldn't change. Maybe the stands, hospitality suites and merchandise stalls, but not the track itself.

    Anyone else got an opinion?

  • Comment number 18.

    Good point about the amount of Champions on the grid. When was the last time there were four? 99 with Schumacher Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen?

    Hoping for some great onboard shots as they pit.

  • Comment number 19.

    I can't wait, four champions on the grid, 3 former and one current, not bad!
    I'm hoping Jenson will win (not just because i'm a fan!), as it would cap a remarkable and brilliant season, and it would cement his status as world champion. If not Button, then I would like to see Hamilton take the chequered flag, but I would like to see Rubens come 2nd in the Driver's Championship, another Brawn 1-2!

  • Comment number 20.

    So, Despite my previous comment regarding lack of transcription to help make this available and accessible to deaf, disabled people, there has been no editorial response, and the video format continues. Is it really the BBC's and Murray Walker's position that they wish to continually disadvantage a large % of the populace? (9 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK alone).

    I have no issues with there being video, but I would request that at the very least a transcript is issued. Given the large numbers of palantypists (Subtitlers) that must be available within the BBC, I would have thought that transcription would be comparatively easy, not to mention making these postings accessible to those who do not have the benefit of high bandwidth connections.

    I quote my previous comment:

    As a profoundly deaf british citizen with an interest in the topics covered here, I'd like to note that this blog is completely inaccessible to me as there is no transcription/summarisation/subtitling of the content.

    Could you please let me know how you will address this, as you are essentially denying me any form of participation by presenting this information in this particular format, and are not being inclusive at all.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry Murray - I could only listen to the first five minutes: It's Aboo Dabby, NOT Aboo Darby!

  • Comment number 22.

    17. At 9:39pm on 29 Oct 2009, BrawnGPtobewild wrote:

    PS: CNW0429, I haven't seen Silverstone's new proposed layout, but for me, personally, I don't think that the track should be changed. Look at Monaco:

    Sorry but I have to disagree with you, what was once a challenging track that used to provide exciting racing is becoming a duller and duller track as the technical abilities of the cars make it easier and easier to go faster round this track. Comparing Silverstone track layout to Monaco is ridiculous, the characteristics of the Monaco layout mean that it is always going to be a tricky track to drive.

    I am excited that Silverstone are considering a new layout, its about time. Yes it will be sad to loose some of the corners, I just hope they keep the fast flowing nature of of the track whilst making the corners more challenging to modern F1 cars. Oh and hope they keep Herman Tilke away and let someone else re-design Silverstone.

  • Comment number 23.

    Numbers 16 and 17. the new layout is for Moto GP primarily. But I think that it's actually a great layout for car racing too. The spectators on the infield at Becketts will get a great view of the cars both through Becketts (which is a lovely flowing chicane) and through the Arrowhead hairpin. I think that events like BTCC, British GT and possibly the fantastic 24 hour race would do well on the new layout as opposed to the current ones. Not sure how well the bikes will take to the layout.

    But I'll surprise you all now by saying that the best layout for F1 at Silverstone is the one they have now for one reason. Bridge Corner. Flat out down the dip under the bridge out into the stadium section with all the grandstands packed full of screaming fans... Who said that Silverstone is flat? Try cycling around it! It's not flat!!

  • Comment number 24.

    "PS: CNW0429, I haven't seen Silverstone's new proposed layout, but for me, personally, I don't think that the track should be changed. Look at Monaco: unchanged for years, and it still attracts huge crowds."

    Silverstone has the biggest 3-day attendance of any Grand Prix this season, bigger than Monaco by miles; I don't think it matters what the circuit's like, people will go there whatever.

    Silverstone has changed so much from what it was anyway, far more than Monaco. I think I'm right in saying every single corner has been re-profiled significantly, except Copse perhaps, and the original Abbey still exists but is seldom used. Even Bridge corner only came into existence in 1991, so change can be good (shame about the corners that followed it!).

    No circuit goes unchanged forever, and except for 2003 and 2008, which had extreme weather/circumstances, recent Silverstone races have been pretty uneventful, so any attempt to liven things up is fine by me. Something radical also needs doing at Barcelona(make it anti-clockwise)and Valencia (drop it).

  • Comment number 25.

    So who thought it was a good idea to spin the camera around Murray all the time? It's not! It's making me feel sick. Stop it!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi all,

    We will be filming Murray's latest videos on Monday, so please post any questions you have about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Formula 1 season or any other things to do with F1, then please post them here.


  • Comment number 27.

    I've a question for F1 experts. Why have teams all decided not to use kers next year, when the rules allow it? I would have thought that with the bigger fuel loads next season, the extra weight of the kers equipment would be less of a negative factor than this season. Do you think some teams may change their minds and use kers after all?

  • Comment number 28.

    hi murray
    what did you think of kobayashi drive and do you think he deserves a drive next year

  • Comment number 29.

    Please Murray, give us a few tips on telling which car(s) we are seeing on television during the race.

    It is no fun watching a race ules you know who is winning. When you commentated on F1 you used to tell us. Now, most of the time I have little idea.

    Once upon a time the spectator knew that if the car was wearing British racing green, then it was a British car. Now, The cars seem to be wearing camouflage colours.

    Once upon a time a driver was easily identified by a number whose digits were a foot high. Need I say more?

    I love your videos.


  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Murray, my first comment on one of your videos but i have watched them all throughout the season and i am always greatful of your insight into the comings and goings of F1.

    My question is, how does someone become part of a Formula One pit crew? Are they the same people that assemble the car in the garage? What is the path someone should take if they are looking to join a team.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hello Murray, my question this time for you is:

    Which rookie impressed you the most this season?

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Murray! What a fantastic blog you've had going this year, you have been pretty much spot on with all the goings on in F1 2009 and am looking forward to more of the same in 2010.

    My question is do you think Sebastian Vettel made the right choice in staying at Red Bull next year? For me it was an odd choice considering he could have easily landed a drive at McLaren or Brawn. I'm not sure Red Bull will have the chops next year to maintain their current momentum and I fear 2010 will be a wasted year for the talented German.

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi murray,
    do you think that it is a good idea for button to join up with hamilton at mclaren? Based on the fact that mclaren has a host of international sponsors, then surely having two brits in the same team would be fairly limiting in terms of appeal to sponsors, and so mclaren would be at risk of losing more than they would gain?

  • Comment number 34.

    " Hi all,

    We will be filming Murray's latest videos on Monday, so please post any questions you have about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Formula 1 season or any other things to do with F1, then please post them here.


    If you are going to be filming a new video, can you please give some consideration to transcribing the content.

  • Comment number 35.

    What technical adjustments will the F1 car need to cope up with new rule of 'No refuelling'?

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi Murray, I am a big fan of your blog & I think you have done a great job with the videos.. So Hurray, Murray! :)

  • Comment number 37.

    As an past commentator, how would you rate the excitment of these new GP circuits compared with the great circuits of the past. Jake, David and Eddie struggle to find many exciting things to talk about.

    There was a lot of hype today about the fabulous scenery of the new Abu Dhabi circuit but for me it was like most new circuits, totally sterile and produced a boring race. F1 should, IMO, be about the spectator experience but is now more about the grandeur of the place. All I saw was VIP's walking around patting each other on their backs, but were they actually watching the race? I've been a fan of F1 for many years now and can honestly say that it no longer has me on the edge of my seat, shouting at the screen. Ok so Button and Webber had one exciting lap, but one out of 55? Bernie complains about the older circuits and how they must update but they do in the main produce more exciting races. Compare each race at Silverstone with the likes of Valencia for example. Next year with the change of regulations of no refueling, which is often the only highlight, and many races will be even duller. Has F1 actually lost its roots?

  • Comment number 38.

    An exciting Grand Prix & great to see Button finish the season as World Champion but I have concerns for the future: why are the powers behind F1 apparently intent on removing it from its origins in Europe and its European fanbase? Why are pundits (including those of the BBC) not prepared to criticise poor design of new tracks, including the incredibly dangerous pit lane entrances/exits on the two newest circuits, lack of safe run-off areas (leading to too many course car interruptions), and lack of overtaking opportunities? Also we need to recognise that while F1 will never be environmentally friendly, creating night-racing circuits with their enormous burden of energy demands and light pollution (rather than racing in more temperate climates) will further antagonise critics of the sport we support and love?

  • Comment number 39.

    Hello Murray,

    It was interesting to hear your thoughts on the 'overtaking question' recently. Would you agree that the track design is the most significant factor? Silverstone, Monza, Spa, Suzuka and Interlagos all seem to produce great wheel to wheel racing year in, year out.

    My main question is; ignoring the commercial aspect, would you like to see a greater focus on the traditional circuits at the expense of the sterile atmospheres of Bahrain and China?

  • Comment number 40.

    Dear Murray,

    If all the cars were equal, who would have been 2009 world champion?

    Best regards.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi Murray, who do you think is driver of the season?


    Is it right that there should be a British Grand Prix when we cant even come up with £100 million when other countries are pumping in billions of pounds of investment in order to secure a grand prix?

  • Comment number 42.

    hi murray,

    where do you think drivers like Nick Heidfeld, Timo Glock and Kovalainnen will be next year?
    And also who are the new teams'rumoured drivers?

  • Comment number 43.

    @pasabeograd because teams are trying to bring costs down and the cost of developing a good KERS system is very high.

    My questions to Murray:

    Apart from Bruno Senna who has already signed a contract for next season, which other rookies do you expect to make a debut in 2010?

    Which of the new 2010 teams do you see doing the best next season?

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear Murray,

    If money and facilities were no object, which classic circuits would you like to see F1 return to?

    All the best,

  • Comment number 45.

    If you could pick any location to hold a Grand Prix in North America, where would it be?

  • Comment number 46.

    Another question i would like to ask that i forgot to put in my last post ...

    Would you like to see a F1 race at the Macau Street Circuit? Will ever be upto F1 standard?

  • Comment number 47.

    Question to Murray - Do you think that Kimi Raikkonen will be in F1 in 2010 or will he go to Rallying?

    Andrew, Nuneaton

  • Comment number 48.

    Two quick questions:

    1,What is the name for the effect where a car is say 2 seconds behind another but then catches it up at a corner only to go 2 seconds behind again.

    2, We always would hear about getting into a slipstream to help overtaking, but now they talk about getting trapped in dirty air from the car infront.

  • Comment number 49.

    The BBC showed some different camera angles and special effects in the Abu dabi race which was excellent. Can we expect to see the same and more in the 2010 season.

    Its nice now Jake has dropped the sarcasm, will he be presenting F1 2010 with David and Eddie they seemed to work well together.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi Murray
    My question is how can a driver like Kobayashi be average in a feeder series and yet perform so well in Formula One, and what is the rationale behind hiring someone on the back on medicore performances? I read it was a similar situation with Schumacher, Frentzen and Wendlinger before F1.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear Murray, I'm sure you will agree that Kobayashi is a firey young talent, but what do you make of his attitude towards racing in Formula 1?
    Also, can you see Michael Schumacher making a return to Formula 1 in the near future?
    Do you think Massa will be back to 100% race speed next year after his accident?
    What did you make of the first race at Abu Dhabi?
    And what is your gut feeling about who will win the drivers championship next year?

    On a final note, I'd just like to say thank you for all your brilliant videos over this year and I hope you have a good winter.

  • Comment number 52.

  • Comment number 53.

    In the next video, can you explain how the no-refuelling rule will work next season? Also, will it be combined with only one set of tyres for the race; so does it mean that a dry race could potentially have no pit stops, and no pit stop strategy as well; with only those with bent front wings etc being required to make a stop?

  • Comment number 54.

    Hello Murray
    I've got a few questions for you here.
    1)Which rookie impressed you most this year?
    2)What was your favourite race this season?
    3)Do you think we will see 28 cars on the grid next season?

  • Comment number 55.

    Hello Murray

    With the excellent battle for the championship bewteen Button and Vettel this year, do you see them becoming the Hill and Schumacher of the current generation?



  • Comment number 56.

    Hey Murray great vid as usual!
    Heres my question,
    How will certain tracks cope with up to 28 cars next season?
    i mean with the amount of garages in the pit lane will we have to see garage sharing?

  • Comment number 57.

    Hi Murray! Do you think that Bruno Senna can fulfil his Uncle's dreams by becoming F1 champion? Thanks

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi Murray,
    I remember you saying earlier in the year that F1 night-racing should be unique to Singapore. Do you still think that after this weekend?

    I'll admit I was a sceptic of Abu Dhabi, and the circuit is a bit of a poor man's Interlagos; long straights bit followed by twisty bit. Still think it works though- and a new race that actually had full Grandstands-Bravo

  • Comment number 59.

  • Comment number 60.

    if everyone thinks these brand new circuits are so good why dont we build a new one using the best of what we have ie:brands hacth silverstone donnington and go from there

  • Comment number 61.

  • Comment number 62.


    Do you think it would be a good idea to return to using "ground effect" aerodynamics for the underside of the cars (in a controlled manner) given that the cars would be less affected by the car in front and thus allow overtaking like we saw when it was used before?

  • Comment number 63.

    Dear Murray,
    Do you think that Jenson even though we love him is true formula 1 champion, with the greater of his work being being done in the halls of the FIA. I am not for a moment saying that it his his fault it turned out that way, although I found it quite strange at the time that all the other teams, bar a few, could be so wrong in the interpretation of the new rules. I remember a Lewis Hamilton being in a similar position insisting that he as a driver wanted to win all his races on the track and not in the offices of the FIA and therefore declined to contest the championship through the FIA. Now I'm going to be little controversial and state the Jenson's true consistant finishing position is around 6th place and therefore it would be hard to think that he has more to give. what do you think?

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Murray,
    I read that Monaco and Monza get a better rate from Bernie for being historic/traditional circuit? Do they get a better deal than the one offered to Silverstone and do you think thats right? Who deciced Monaco and Monza are
    historic and Silverstone is not?I guess we all know that hey?

  • Comment number 65.

    Regarding tradition and heritage issues seeing the astonishing Abu Dhabi complex do you think that the middle east countries missed an opportunity to launch a gulf-porsche F1 Team?

  • Comment number 66.

    Dear Murray,

    simple question-i think the most important...

    Are you back for more next season?

    you've been brilliant Murray...


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