Scuderia Toro Rosso, Team Photo 2016


November 24, 2016

This is it then, 20 races done and dusted and just Sunday's 55 laps of the Yas Marina circuit, 305.47 kilometres, to decide who will be the 2016 World Champion. While it's true that one team has been the dominant force, the battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has at least kept the tension going right down to the wire.

Already today, Thursday, there's a buzz of excitement in the paddock at this fantastic facility, which only really shows its true colours when the sun sets and the floodlights come on. In the Toro Rosso camp, Daniil and Carlos are hoping to pick up some more points and end the season on a high note, because there's nothing more warming to get through a cold winter than knowing your last race of the year was a good one.

While Sunday's finale is the main talking point in Abu Dhabi, behind the scenes in the team offices, it's not the end of this year that is occupying people's thoughts so much as the beginning of the 2017 season. The dates for winter testing have already been set, with two four day sessions running from February 27th to March 2nd and from March 7th to 10th. Next Friday, 2nd December is another important date for the F1 team's logistics people, because that's when the World Motor Sport Council finalises the dates for next year's calendar. That means a rush to book travel for those events whose dates were not a hundred percent clear so far.

While the prospect of all that travel is quite daunting and tiring, on the racing front, 2017 seems to hold the promise of some mouth-watering excitement. Certainly, the experts reckon that, in the fourth year of the hybrid power unit, the performance levels from all the suppliers should be closer than ever. And have you seen illustrations of what next year's cars will look like? Those big wings and wide tyres? Wow! It's a case of stepping back in time while adopting the science of the future. You'd almost expect to see Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell to be driving them!

So if you're feeling sad that Formula 1 is shutting down for a while, don't worry, because once the New Year festivities are out of the way, Grand Prix racing will be entering another thrilling new era.