LONDON (Reuters) – Mercedes have won both Formula One titles already, and Red Bull are sure of second place, but Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be a last roll of the dice for some of those behind them.
With an unprecedented double points on offer, ‘Abu Double’ has the power to bring joy and despair in equal measure and not just for Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
For tail-enders Caterham, in administration and facing closure unless they can find a buyer, the day-to-night race at Yas Marina could literally be a last blast before darkness engulfs their hopes.
They are hoping, even if any sort of points looks out of reach, to show they are a team that deserves being saved from the scrapheap after the failure last month of rivals Marussia.
Neither team raced in the last two grands prix, with Caterham returning only after a crowd-funding exercise to raise sufficient funds to get them back on the starting grid.
“We knew that the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show that it’s still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the finale,” said administrator Finbarr O’Connell.
“By racing in Abu Dhabi the team will be showcasing itself as a live and functioning team that deserves to continue into 2015 and beyond.”
Swiss-based Sauber, one of the sport’s oldest teams after multiple champions Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, need a 10th place to stave off their first campaign without a scoring finish.
The team that came second in the championship as recently as 2007 when owned by BMW has fallen on hard times but can still salvage some pride in a season of struggle on and off the track.
“It’s going to be extremely tough,” said principal Monisha Kaltenborn after Mexican Esteban Gutierrez and Germany’s Adrian Sutil, both without seats for next season, drew yet another blank in Brazil.
Ahead of them, Lotus would need their best result of the season to overhaul Toro Rosso for eighth place while Force India would require something pretty spectacular to make up 34 points and get back in front of fifth placed McLaren.
Williams are looking good for third place, their highest overall placing since 2003, but Ferrari still have a chance of overtaking them if they can repeat their Hungary haul of 26 regular points.