Recapping all of the additional news and notes from the Yas Marina Circuit following Friday's practice running ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Crash.net F1 Digital Editor Luke Smith brings you his paddock notebook.

 

- The Haas protest against Force India’s cars was heard by the stewards in a lengthy hearing in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Initially scheduled to take place at 9am, it was pushed back to 3:40pm where both teams delivered a “substantial amount” of evidence. As a result, no decision is anticipated from the stewards until Saturday afternoon at the earliest.

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- Haas team boss Günther Steiner refused to discuss the matter at length, but said the protest was driven by a desire to seek equality for all teams. This ties in with Haas’ push to gain clarity over the prize money situation as Force India looks to keep its rights to the ‘Column 1’ amounts despite technically entering as a new team at the Belgian Grand Prix.

- Steiner said Haas did not launch a protest any earlier as “we weren’t ready and we tried to mediate and find an amicable solution as we tried to do. But we didn’t get neither a good or bad answer, we didn’t get any answer. So at a certain point you need to do what you need to do.”

- Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to see the stewards on Friday in Abu Dhabi, receiving a reprimand for crossing the white line at entry to the pit lane in FP1. It was his second driving reprimand of the season (his first coming for the same offence in Germany), and means he is one reprimand shy of a grid penalty.

- Hamilton ran with #1 on his car during FP1 after receiving permission from the FIA to do so, but quickly reverted to his traditional #44 for FP2, saying he did not like using the #1. The number had not been used in a session since the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel raced with it on his Red Bull.

- Mercedes confirmed the cause of Hamilton’s engine issue in Brazil, but is satisfied the problem will not rear its head again in Abu Dhabi after a clean Friday of practice running.

- A new, large sausage kerb at the exit of Turn 20 caught a number of drivers out through the session as the FIA looks to clamp down on drivers running wide through the corner. There were concerns about it breaking apart, with repairs and a smoothing of it set to take place overnight. The kerb was also discussed in relation to Sophia Flörsch’s Formula 3 crash at Macau when her car hit a large kerb before going into the air.

- Mercedes confirmed that Esteban Ocon will be taking up the role of third and reserve driver with the team next year, having missed out on a seat with Williams.

- Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner took a dig at Ocon over his clash with Max Verstappen during the Brazilian Grand Prix, suggesting that if Mercedes “could show him what the flags mean, as well, that would help.”

- Sauber team boss Frederic Vasseur confirmed Kimi Raikkonen will complete his first test back with the team in Abu Dhabi next week after agreeing a deal with Ferrari for his early release. Raikkonen is likely to set testing duties with Antonio Giovinazzi, his 2019 teammate.

- Zak Brown would be open to letting Fernando Alonso test McLaren’s 2019 car next year as the Spaniard retains ties to the team. Alonso will race with McLaren at the Indianapolis 500, and is set to add a number of other events to his schedule.

- However, Brown said he is not actively helping Alonso in his bid to find drives in other series, focusing instead on his duties with McLaren.

- Brown confirmed once again that James Key will join McLaren as technical director in 2019, but would not pin down when in the year. Key is currently on gardening leave with Toro Rosso.

- Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene confirmed former FIA deputy race director Laurent Mekies – attending the race with Ferrari for the first time – would be taking up the role of sporting director at Maranello.

- FP1 saw Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica complete running with Sauber and Williams respectively as standins for Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin, furthering their preparation for their 2019 race seats.

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