Although Jenson Button and Brawn GP have already locked up the 2009 driver and constructor?s championships with a race to go, there are still some things left to do for both teams and drivers and for fans to pay attention to.
First, the Mclaren/Ferrari rivalry. Although it isn?t for the championship like most people thought it would be, the top two teams in F1 are separated by just a point in the standings. Lewis Hamilton and Mclaren have a one point edge over Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari for 5th in the drivers standings and 3rd in the constructors standings respectively, and with their teammates failing to score any points in the last two races it?ll likely come down to whichever of the two drivers finish ahead of the other; but Mclaren?s Heikki Kovalainen stands a better chance of scoring points than Ferrari?s Giancarlo Fisichella. The difference between 3rd and 4th in the constructors championship is worth a few million euro?s but the bragging rights are worth even more so expect this fight to go down to the wire.
Second, the clean sweep for Brawn GP in the championship. The championships are locked up but Brawn GP?s other driver Rubens Barrichello is two points behind Red Bull Racing?s Sebastien Vettel for 2nd in the standings. For Brawn GP to end up 1-2 in the standings could complete an amazing feat for a first year team that wasn?t even sure it would make the grid after Honda decided to pull out of F1 in the off season. But team principal Ross Brawn took over the team and took advantage of a car that?d been in development since early 2008 to come out as the team to beat.
Third, The efforts by drivers to find a competitive ride or even just stay in F1 for 2010. Half the 2010 grid still needs to be filled with many of this year?s drivers either already on their way to new teams or still looking. Fernando Alonso is going to Ferrari and Robert Kubica is already on his way to Renault next year while deals to make Timo Glock his teammate and switch Barrichello for Nico Rosberg between Brawn GP and Williams are ongoing. Young drivers like Romain Grosjean, Kazuki Nakajima, Jaime Alguesuari and Kamui Kobayashi will be trying to prove that they have the potential to be career F1 drivers with the first two already confirmed to be out of their current rides while Kobayashi is getting a great chance in replacing the injured Glock to try out for Toyota. Vitantonio Liuzzi will be trying to keep his current ride and make a full return to F1 after replacing Giancarlo Fisichella mid-season in the Force India team. Veteran drivers like Heikki Kovalainen, Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli need to show that they can either still succeed with top teams or be valuable assets to the new teams like USF1, Campos and Manor that will be coming to F1 in 2010. Then there?s 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen who will either sign with Mclaren for 2010 or nobody at all. This will be the final race for many drivers with their current teams and possibly the final race in F1 period for some of them.
Fourth and finally, victory! This is what drivers race to accomplish in the first place and what people tune in to the races to see. A win by Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button would make it 9 of the 17 races won by British drivers who?ve won the last two drivers championship. Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will want to win in their final race for the teams they?ve won championships with while winners from last season like Heikki Kovalainen and Robert Kubica will want to end disappointing seasons on a high note. And there?s the 9 drivers in this weekend?s race going for their first career wins: Rosberg, Adrian Sutil, Heidfeld, Najajima, Alguesuari, Grosjean, Liuzzi, Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi. And this is the first ever race in Abu Dhabi at the newly-built Yas Marina Circuit so there?s pride to be had in being the first ever winner here.
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