29 Oct 2009

Abu Dhabi to make debut on day of farewells

7:47 am on 29 October 2009

Formula One is facing a weekend of farewells just as the sport's newest arrival, Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit, prepares to debut as the first day-to-night race.

The Middle East's second grand prix marks the end of the road for German manufacturer BMW, who announced in July they'd be pulling out of the sport at the end of the season.

Polish driver Robert Kubica will be keen to give BMW one last podium before he heads off to join Renault while Spain's Fernando Alonso, moving to Ferrari for 2010, must say goodbye for the second time in three years to the French former champions who took him to two world titles.

Jenson Button and his Brawn GP team may have won both titles already but Button's Brazilian team-mate Rubens Barrichello is still fighting Sebastian Vettel of the second-placed team Red Bull for the runner-up slot in the drivers' standings.

McLaren and Ferrari are also locked in combat for the third place in the constructors' rankings.

Finland's 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen brings down the curtain on a three-year stint at the glamour team with his future still uncertain.

His current team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella, is set to bow out altogether after 14 seasons in Formula One. The Italian has a new contract as Ferrari's test and reserve driver in his pocket.

Several other drivers, including Button's Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello and Williams' Nico Rosberg, are likely to be making their last appearances for their current employers.