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It has been designated the 14th team for 2010, meaning its place in next season's championship depends upon one of the 13 teams not going ahead with its 2010 entry. Given the uncertainty over the financial state of the sport in the midst of global economic difficulty, it would not be surprising if a team withdraws, giving BMW a reprieve.
"There will of course also be a fair amount of sadness within the team as we set off for Abu Dhabi," BMW team boss Mario Thiessen said. "After all, this will be our 70th and final race with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.
"With the exception of our fourth and unfortunately final season, I'm more than satisfied with what we have achieved since 2006."
This weekend's grand prix will also be the last for mid-race refueling, which will be banned starting next season to reduce the high cost of transporting the fuel rigs around the world.
That will mean an end to pit crews dressed like astronauts as a fire safety precaution. But the more important resulting cosmetic difference will be to the cars themselves.
No refueling requires a bigger fuel tank and a redesign of the chassis to accommodate it. With the tank fitted between driver and engine, the cars should look a little more bloated in the tail end.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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