Sauber can’t realistically climb any higher up the constructors’ championship in Abu Dhabi, but both drivers’ are aiming to add to their season’s points tally, and give the C29 a good send-off in the last race of 2010.
Kamui Kobayashi competed here in a Toyota last year and finished sixth to claim his first three career points. The Japanese driver is a fan of this circuit, and is looking forward to returning. “Abu Dhabi was only the second race in my Formula One career,” he said. “It was the first time I scored points, so I have good memories from this place.
“It's a nice circuit. Last year the track's grip level improved a lot during the weekend as more rubber was laid down. It was the first twilight race in Formula One history, which was very special. It will be a big challenge for everybody to manage their tyres during the race, because the track temperature changes significantly.
“Of course, my goal is to score more points in order to finish the season with a positive result.”
Nick Heidfeld remembers last years’ race for more poignant reason – BMW were about to leave the sport, and at the time the team had no buyer. Having gone via Mercedes and Pirelli as a test driver, Heidfeld is racing for the same team here this weekend, although it is now under the ownership of Peter Sauber once again.
“Last year I liked the circuit in Abu Dhabi at first sight,” said the German. “The same as many of the modern tracks, it has long straights which should allow overtaking. At the same time, you have some nice winding sections and the tunnel at the pit lane exit is something special.
“In 2009, at the inaugural event there, I came fifth, which was quite a good result. These points helped to move the team one place up in the constructors' championship.
“It was an extraordinarily emotional Grand Prix, because after BMW had pulled out nobody knew what the future would be for Peter Sauber's team. After the race he presented me with a Formula One car. This was unbelievable. I didn't expect it at all, and I want to say thank you again.
“Something else that should be noted about this Grand Prix is it starts in daylight and finishes in darkness – similar to the Korean Grand Prix this year! On a personal note, a potential highlight for me would be making it to the Prince concert.”
James Key, the Sauber technical director, is hoping to finish on a high at the season finale, but know that getting the right set-up on this 5.554km circuit will be crucial.
“We are already at the end of the season, with the last race at Abu Dhabi seeming to come round very quickly,” Key said. “But obviously the focus is on the event, and we look forward to going to the spectacular setting where the track is.
“For us it will be a case of running the C29 in its last race, but looking to optimise the set-up down the straights, in the slow speed last section and then the chicanes. It's a compromise between straight line speed and braking stability.
“We are looking to continue our trend of scoring points. I hope we can enjoy a successful last race.”