Well, Vettel and Red Bull remain the champions. 2014 has the prospect of a change, but we’ll see. In the meantime, there are three races to finish off the season.
Abu Dhabi’s a fairly narrow circuit with barriers close to the track (and pit lane exit), so a safety car is probable.
The performance of the cars is largely locked in now, as any development on non-2014 relevant areas will have practically stopped. Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus are all fighting for 2nd in the Constructors’, but whilst this matters getting next year right is more important.
I expect Mercedes to be a little better in Abu Dhabi. They did well in Monaco and had a reasonably result (4th and 5th) in Singapore, which are fairly similar to the Yas Marina circuit.
Turning to the driver market, the prevailing rumours I’ve heard are:
Massa to Williams (replacing Maldonado)
Maldonado or Hulkenberg taking Raikkonen’s old seat
Some argue that Hulkenberg should get Perez’s seat, but I think that highly unlikely. For a start, Whitmarsh has said he’s too tall (interesting, given Button isn’t exactly a jockey). More importantly, McLaren really want Alonso either next year or, more likely, 2015. Perez is likely to remain but this is not confirmed.
Daniil Kvyat (young Russian chap) will replace Ricciardo at Toro Rosso, and Sirotkin, another young Russian, will join Sauber. So, Gutierrez must hope that Hulkenberg does go elsewhere or he would seem to have no chance of keeping his seat. (That said, Sauber isn’t flush, and Hulkenberg brings no money whereas I believe Gutierrez does. It’s not impossible that the German will end up without a seat in 2014).
Back to Abu Dhabi: rain’s unlikely, a safety car is, traffic will probably be at least slightly more of an issue (even with high degradation the track is narrower and there’s far less run-off than India), and the starting grid will probably have a strong resemblance to the final result.
However, it’s worth noting that if 2 stops are likely then some (Lotus) may again try something cunning.
It’s my intention to offer a qualifying tip, but we’ll see how practice goes.