Final race weekend is upon us, it's close potentially on the grid with 1/2sec seperating midfield places 8-16 from practice yesterday. 1/3sec top six.
As usual Abu Dhabi does not encourage overtaking, so after pole position today, it will be all about tyres and fuel management with most overtaking completed in the pits which gives me time to reflect on the season this year and who has regrets?
Mercedes. No regrets? Won both championships and did well. Great to read that Lauda is making a convincing recovery, but what about Wolff? Regrets that he gave Bottas a 2nd year to his contract and Ocon has to wait until 2020? Bottas clearly regrets his lack of performance but will Bottas regret driving under increased threat next year and be motivated or fail under the pressure?
Ferrrari. They must regret nearly everything from the mid season on. Team and driver errors of course, but do they regret retaining Vettel rather than Räikkönen? When Vettel was teamed up with a competitive Ricciardo at Red Bull the pressure got to him, don't expect that Le Clerc will be more accommodating IF the team allow it?
Red Bull. Behind closed doors they must regret Verstappen's bullying and threatening attitude? He threatened to attack journalists and now he has attacked a fellow driver and continues to fail to appologise. Marko and Horner must regret the dramatic loss of Ricciardo who is a top six driver and risk the predicable friction between Gasly and Verstappen? Ricciardo left as he could not remain in a team built around Verstappen and contractually play second fiddle to him, presumably Gasly has agreed to?
Force India, Haas and Renault have been close all season. Will Force India regret Stroll and will Renault regret that their chassis is not enough for Ricciardo? I suspect that Force India will rue the day Ocon was fired for Stroll and Ricciardo that neither Mercedes nor Ferrari would give him a seat.
Sauber and Torro Rosso really are not proactive as "B" teams and know decisions made are not always best for them. The loss of drivers to the "A" team is always a regret especially when things were getting better. Honda will regret the loss of gentleman racer, team player, Hartley and F1 will be much poorer for that.
McLaren and Williams probably regret everything this season and can't wait for it to go away. F1 will be bankrupt without the unrealized talents of Alonso and it remains a huge disappointment that both Hamilton and Vettel together with weak team management prevented him for driving for Mercedes or Ferrari against the two best drivers of the moment in equal machinery. All fans regret that. At last Williams realized that pay to drive drivers are regrettable and have risked inexperience and disability in the absence of choices and I hope they don't come to regret that too? I suspect after yesterday's poor performance Kubica is starting to have his doubts and regrets.
Me? I regret the continued tyre, fuel and aero issues which prevent the cars from being raced flat out from start to finish and overtake.
I regret the dishonesty of the commentators glossing over cars coasting around the circuit. I regret Verstappen not being properly disciplined before there is a tragedy.
I regret that Liberty Media's plans, Brawn riding to the rescue of F1, viewers and supporters interests have been frustrated by Mercedes/Ferrari vested interests and no one seems to be able to do anything much about it, least of all Liberty.
But, Ross Brawn, I still have a white charger in the stable for you IF you are able to remount and réengage?
In the interim, Mr Brawn, I'm wondering what your regrets are this year?
What we don't want next year is more one horse races across the grid and within the teams! What we do need are 20 cars racing one another flat out for the whole race.