Farewell weekend at Abu Dhabi GP

ABU DHABI - Formula One is facing a weekend of farewells just as the sport's newest arrival, Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit, prepares to make a spectacular debut.

ABU DHABI - Formula One is facing a weekend of farewells just as the sport's newest arrival, Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit, prepares to make a spectacular debut.

With both titles already won by Jenson Button and his Brawn GP team, Sunday's season-ender brings down the curtain on an astonishing season that ripped up the form book from day one in Australia.

Button, who has led the championship since Melbourne and can look forward to his first stress-free weekend in months, will be wanting to end his year in the same style that he started it: with a win.

Others have just as great an incentive to do well under the floodlights of Formula One's first day-to-night race before moving on.

The Middle East's second Grand Prix marks the end of the road for BMW, who announced in July that they would be pulling out of the sport at the end of the season.

Poland's Robert Kubica, runner-up in Brazil earlier this month, will be keen to give them one last podium before he heads off to join Renault.

"This will be a very special race for all of us in the team," said Germany's Nick Heidfeld. "So far I haven't really had that feeling of saying goodbye. But that will change in Abu Dhabi."

Spain's Fernando Alonso, moving to Ferrari for 2010, must say goodbye - for the second time in three years - to the former champions who took him to two world titles.

"I would love to finish the season and my Renault career with a great result," he said. "It will be an emotional race."

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 teammate, 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.

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

While the top two places in the constructors' championship are cast in stone, Barrichello is still fighting Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel for the runner-up slot in the drivers' standings. - Reuters

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