Our Eye on the Inside Reports from an Exceptionally Busy Paddock in Abu Dhabi

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The Formula One paddock was still buzzing to the tunes of Kylie Minogue this morning. The Aussie pop princess wowed observers at the du Arena on Yas Island last night and those people lucky enough to get tickets say she was fantastic.

Not that any of the workers in the F1 pitlane got to see Kylie. Friday is the busiest day of a race weekend for the teams because it’s their only opportunity to make big changes to their cars, if necessary, ahead of the parc fermé regulations kicking in on Saturday. All of the teams were at the track long after Kylie’s concert had ended at 11pm, and none more than Ferrari.

For the second night in succession the Scuderia broke the paddock curfew, which meant they were still working on their F2012s after 5am this morning. That means a lot of work was going on. Breaking the curfew doesn’t mean anything bad, unless a team exceeds the four jokers it is permitted in the regulations each season. If they do that, their cars start from the pitlane, which leaves Ferrari with two jokers in hand and two races remaining.

Seeing Ferrari hard at it is a stark insight into the realities of F1. The headlines this weekend speak of the glamour of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the Kylie concert, the yacht parties in Yas Marina – but the reality for the guys on the ground is different. It’s hard work in the pitlane, made even harder by the fact that the team people have spent six of the last seven weeks away from home.

For the F1 in Schools finalists, who had their world finals in Abu Dhabi last week, Ferrari’s plight painted an authentic picture of F1. The winners, from Brighton Secondary School in Adelaide, were given a paddock tour by Bernie Ecclestone today and they saw many of the Ferrari mechanics falling asleep in the corner of the pit garage!

In the end, Ferrari’s hard work brought them a tiny bit closer to Red Bull in qualifying. Fernando will start the grand prix from seventh, with Hamilton on pole and the two Red Bulls second and third. A thrilling race is in prospect!