Like many modern circuits itís obvious that a lot of thought has gone into making the Yas Marina Circuit as safe as it possibly can be. Of course thatís absolutely the right thing to do but the consequence is that thereís lots of run-off. Itís the way itís got to be but you never feel like youíre putting the car on the line. However Yas still manages to get the adrenaline going. I really like the third sector, around and under the hotel. Itís got a bit more of a street circuit vibe and itís good fun. Plus thereís the whole twilight racing thing. Thatís a great idea; it seems to give the whole place a really good atmosphere and is quite different to anywhere else.
I personally have very special memories of the Abu Dhabi circuit and race; it was here in 2010 that I became World Champion for the first time in my favourite F1 car, the RB6. That was a weekend I will never forget and this year the race will mark another big moment in my career; my last race with Infiniti Red Bull Racing. Of course it will be an emotional weekend as we have great memories together, but Iíll enjoy the weekend with the team and with a bit of luck maybe weíll get a final podium. The circuit itself is impressive. The five star Yas Marina Hotel spans the marina and across the track and is a spectacular landmark. One of the challenges of the track can be turn one which is very difficult to see and very fast. Also, turn 10, after the long straight which we take in first or second gear depending on the gear ratios, can be a good overtaking opportunity. I will arrive a bit earlier for the weekend as we have a show run with Infiniti in Dubai on Wednesday, which gives me a bit longer to enjoy the sunshine and warmth before we go back to winter in Europe!
My Favourite Things: Some of the team tell us their favourite parts of 2014...
Daniel being on the podium at the first race. A matter of weeks before, we imagined that race would see us dicing with cars at the back, before catching fire and stopping. That turnaround was drastic, we went from a complete nightmare to a podium and we were reasonably on the pace.
For me the highlight of the season was Danís win at Spa. We expected a tough weekend fighting the Mercedes-powered teams, but both drivers were excellent using a dry setup in wet qualifying. Our pace was then good enough in the dry race to allow Dan to capitalise on the Mercedes drivers colliding and win for the third time.
Looking back I think my favourite story this year occurred during the first test. It was a disaster with the car determined to set itself on fire every time it left the garageÖ all very character building! Overnight we fashioned some makeshift cooling ducts to help keep the fire at bay. The only bit of tubing we had to hand was the spout on our Henry Hoover so Henry had to Ďtake one for the teamí. Next day Henryís spout did help a bit and shed some light on what we needed to do to fix the problem properly for MelbourneÖ but keeping the garage clean was difficult.
Right at the end of pre-season testing we had all the parts available to correct the problems that had been so troublesome in the preceding two and a half weeks of attempted running, the car ran two days Ė one for each driver, and we proved that in such adversity we could pull it around and go to Australia with two cars being competitive.
After the very difficult pre-season, to see Daniel on the podium in Australia, was a fantastic achievement. Even though we were later disqualified, we showed how the team could react to a very difficult situation and recover.
I think it has to be the win in Canada, there was this tremendous release of all the pressure weíd been under all year, I know we have won a lot of races but there was something really special about that one and obviously it was the first win for Daniel. It came on top of a great team performance all weekend, the pit stops were fantastic so it has to be Canada for me.