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2009 FIA Formula 1™ Season Preview

26th March 2009 - Abu Dhabi: 29th March see Australia’s Albert Park in Melbourne play host to the first race of the 2009 FIA (Fédération International de l’Automobile) Formula 1™ World Championship. As the curtain raises in the Southern hemisphere on 2009 championship, tickets for the hotly anticipated inaugural F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, this years’ season finale, go on sale on March 30th.

It’s the start to a 17-race championship full of excitement: New rules, new cars, new circuits – never has Formula 1™ been less predictable than this year. Whatever you need to know and whatever questions you have about the 2009 FIA Formula 1™ season, Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM), the promoter of the inaugural F1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, has the answers.

Formula 1™ is one of the worlds’ most watched sports with 600 million people watching worldwide in 2008 a rise of 3 million from the 2007 season. In addition to the new rule changes for 2009, there is a new re-vamped race format this year that will see the F1 races commencing later in the day and finishing in the twilight hours, offering Formula One fans in Europe the opportunity to watch the action at a reasonable hour.

The UK’s Lewis Hamilton took the World Championship last year after winning a season-long battle against Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. F1 fans around the world were glued to their seats as the championship race went right down to the wire and was decided at the final race of the season in Brazil. Organisers of the inaugural F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix can only hope for a similarly nail biting showdown.

Commenting on the start of the 2009 F1 season, His Excellency Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Vice President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE) said: “I’m sure that this year F1 will provide us with another incredible season of racing and with Abu Dhabi set to host the season finale, we couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the sport for the whole UAE.”

2009 FIA Formula One World Championship Race Calendar:

2009 Formula 1 ING Australia Grand Prix (Melbourne) 27 - 29 Mar
2009 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix (Kuala Lumpur) 03 - 05 Apr
2009 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai) 17 - 19 Apr
2009 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix (Sakhir) 24 - 26 Apr
Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica 2009 (Catalunya) 08 - 10 May
Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2009 21 - 24 May
2009 Formula 1 ING Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul) 05 - 07 Jun
2009 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix (Silverstone) 19 - 21 Jun
F1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland 2009 (Nürburgring) 10 - 12 Jul
Formula1 ING Magyar Nagydij 2009 (Budapest) 24 - 26 Jul
2009 Formula 1 Telefonica Grand Prix of Europe (Valencia) 21 - 23 Aug
2009 Formula 1 ING Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps) 28 - 30 Aug
Formula 1 Gran Premio Santander D’Italia 2009 (Monza) 11 - 13 Sep
2009 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix (Singapore) 25 - 27 Sep
2009 Formula 1 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka) 02 - 04 Oct
Formula 1 Grande Premio do Brasil 2009 (Sao Paulo) 16 - 18 Oct
2009 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina Circuit) 30 Oct - 01 Nov

The 2009 season promises to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable for several years due to an extensive list of rule changes designed to help teams cut costs, even up the chances of less well resourced teams competing and make races more exciting for spectators and television audiences.

The rule changes in 2009 include:

Slick tyres: Slicks make a comeback after an 11 year absence. Slick tyres have no grooves on them and in dry conditions offer drivers and their cars a greater ability to grip the track. Leading in turn to more aggressive driving and the possibility of more overtaking.

Slicks were banished in 1998 to be replaced by grooved tyres to help reduce speed from what many thought were dangerous levels. Other changes introduced in 2009 will help keep car speeds down allowing slick tyres to make a comeback.

Testing: The world wide credit crunch and pressure on sponsors has thrown the spotlight on the costs incurred by Formula One teams. Accurate numbers are hard to come by but some estimates put the collective cost of competing last year at two billion sterling, or 10.2bn dirhams.

In an effort to reduce costs and even the playing field for all the teams the only testing allowed in 2009 will be during scheduled practice on race weekends. Time spent in wind tunnels testing the aero-dynamics of the cars is also to be limited.

Information on tyres and fuel must now be shared between all teams.

Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS): Formula One has always prided itself as a test bed for technology that will eventually find itself in everyday use. The Kinetic Energy Recovery System works by recovering the energy that is normally dissipated when cars brake. Most teams have opted thus far for an electrical system that stores the energy in a battery and is released on driver command to the wheels. Williams have opted for a mechanical system.

The rules dictate that the driver may engage the KERS system for a maximum of 6.7 seconds in any one lap. BMW report an extra 82 horsepower being generated from its system but it remains to be seen whether the 35kg system will win favour with all the teams. With many holding judgement with weight, reliability and impact on car set up cited as reasons.

The shape of things to come in 2009: A further set of rule changes have been introduced this year aimed at car aero dynamics. Specifically, barge boards, winglets, chimneys, cooling fins and turning vanes are out in a bid to make it easier for cars to overtake.

All the above were used in the past to create extra downforce, a side effect is the turbulent wake they create making it difficult for following cars and their drivers.

In theory the changes will increase the ability of drivers to overtake. One extra change this year is a driver adjustable front wing, when raised, it creates more downforce, and when lowered, more straight line speed. Drivers can make the changes to the trim twice in any one lap.

Engines: The rev limit on F1 engines had been cut from 19,000 to 18,000rpm. Drivers must use the same engine for three consecutive events, rather than last year’s two. In a bid to limit costs, each driver will be limited to using eight engines in the course of the year, should an extra engine be required it will result in a ten place penalty on the grid.

Further details on rule changes from: http://www.Formula1.com/news

Teams and Drivers:

McLaren-Mercedes: www.mclaren.co.uk
Lewis Hamilton: www.lewishamilton.com
Heikki Kovalainen: www.heikkikovalainen.com
Scuderia Ferrari: www.ferrari.it
Kimi Raikkonen: www.kimiraikkonen.com
Felipe Massa: www.felipemassa.com
BMW Sauber F1 Team: www.bmw-sauber-f1.com
Robert Kubica: www.kubica.pl
Nick Heidfeld: www.nickheidfeld.com
Renault: www.renaultf1.com
Fernando Alonso: www.fernandoalonso.com
Nelson Piquet Jnr: www.npiquet.com
Toyota Racing: www.toyota-f1.com
Jarno Trulli: www.jarnotrulli.com
Timo Glock: www.timo-glock.de
Scuderia Toro Rosso: www.tororosso.com
Sebastien Buemi: www.buemi.ch
Sebastien Bourdais: www.sebastien-bouordais.com
Red Bull Racing: www.redbullf1.com
Mark Webber: www.markwebber.net
Sebastian Vettel: www.sebastianvettel.de
Williams: www.williamsf1.com
Nico Rosberg: www.nico.rosberg.com
Kazuki Nakajima: www.kazuki-nakajima.com
Brawn GP
Rubens Barrichello: www.barrichello.com
Jenson Button: www.jensenbutton.com
Force India F1 Team: www.forceindiaf1.com
Adrian Sutil: www.adriansutil.com
Giancarlo Fisichella: www.giancarlofisichella.com

For more information please contact:
Liz Brooks, International Media Manager, Yas Marina Circuit
Tel: +971 (0) 2 4100 824 Mobile: +971 (0) 50 584 0950
Email: [email protected]
Haifa Al Shekaili, Press Officer, Yas Marina Circuit
Tel: +971 2 4100 839 Mobile: +971 50 220 3557
Email: [email protected]

Notes to Editors
Images: To download high resolution images of Yas Marina Circuit and related activities please visit the media centre at: www.yasmarinacircuit.ae.

About Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM)

Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM) is a joint venture between the Government of Abu Dhabi and ALDAR Properties PJSC, the leading developer in the Emirate. ADMM drives the overall vision of the project and is responsible for the creative oversight, communication and management of Yas Marina Circuit. ADMM is responsible for driving pride and ownership for the project within the region achieving significant Emirati patronage of events at the Circuit.

ADMM will manage Yas Marina Circuit’s racing properties as well as all other facilities on the Circuit grounds, including the drag strip, and karting. ADMM’s management team, consisting of leading industry professionals, is committed to delivering a world-class and state-of-the-art motorsport venue.

About ALDAR Properties PJSC

ALDAR Properties PJSC is undertaking multi-billion Dirham civic projects to help develop Abu Dhabi, the capital emirate of the United Arab Emirates, into an international business magnet and tourist destination. As the Emirate’s premier real estate development, management and investment company, ALDAR’ is creating unique and prestigious developments that can be used as a benchmark of quality, whilst adhering to the cultural and natural heritage of the city.

Since launching in 2005, the company has announced assignments worth more than $72 billion USD, in a property development portfolio diverse in scope and style, attracting considerable worldwide interest and inward investment.

The current property portfolio includes the Al Raha Beach development “the Ultimate Waterfront City”, Yas Island, the Central Market, and a host of major developments and redevelopments within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

ALDAR are the development company in charge of building the Yas Marina Circuit which forms an integral part of the larger Yas Island development. The Yas Island project covers an area of 25km² and is set to become a cornerstone of Abu Dhabi’s fast growing tourism industry. In addition to the racing circuit, the development will include Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, a Warner Bros. Theme Park, five-star and boutique hotels, a water park, 356000 square meters of retail space, golf courses, marinas, restaurants, various entertainment facilities and luxurious residential property.

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