Abu Dhabi: Former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is excited to see how the title showdown plays out as the four-way challenge brings about a "thrilling end to the season".
The German, currently ninth in the standings with 72 points, is widely recognised as being the world's best racing driver, and made his Formula One comeback in 2010 with Mercedes GP.
He describes his participation, for the first time, in the second edition of F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as "thrilling!"
Even though another world title on a much-anticipated comeback proved a difficult task, Schumacher remained focused and professional during this year's F1 races.
"There have been ups and downs and unpredictable happenings, which add to another exciting weekend to end the season with. I can imagine what the three, mathematically four, main contenders are going through. Everybody in the team is as geared up to deliver a respectable last performance of the season as I am," Schumacher said.
The 41 year old described the Yas Marina Circuit as "impressive" during an entertaining evening organised by Emirates Motor Company (EMC) last week, where hundreds of fans, visitors and children from the Abu Dhabi Special Care Centre (SCC) were present.
He said: "I was thrilled yet astonished to drive at this impressive circuit for the first time, and witness the high level of tracks, with an entire infrastructure that helps offer a combination of day and night racing possibilities."
As a member of the Commission for Global Road Safety since 2006 — a campaign that achieved success in March 2010 when the United Nations (UN) proclaimed the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20 — Schumacher spoke about the importance of differentiating between racing on a professional track from racing on city roads.
"Abu Dhabi has fantastic cars, and your streets have great lanes. You have pedestrians and kids, please practise caution and drive at the required speed in order to avoid dangers on the road and car accidents, which are just too tragic," he said.
"I personally drive very casual while on the road, and find no reason for anyone to race or speed unless on a professional race track."
Schumacher was only four years old when he started racing. When asked what advice he offered to young drivers, the father of two said: "It's a long career, you better think before you get into it. The best way to know if you have a talent is to try Go Kart racing as a start."
Known for his charitable work with children and honoured by Unesco for his efforts to help youngsters, Schumacher awarded seven children from the SCC, who have Down's Syndrome and cognitive delays and are in the 12-17 age group, with free tickets to attend yesterday's pre-qualifying race.
Special needs: Donate a brick campaign
The Special Care Centre (SCC) Abu Dhabi is a self-funded, non-profit organisation that relies heavily on volunteers and donations for its survival.
The centre opened in 1989 with just ten children, and has grown to accommodate 66 children of various nationalities. However, there are 128 children from Abu Dhabi on the SCC waiting list.
Through a campaign called "Donate-a-Brick", the SCC has managed to collect Dh11 million so far. However, it needs to reach a target of Dh25 million in order to complete its new school premises, which will accommodate 420 students.
Each brick for the new premises costs Dh5. If you would like to help the centre help families and children in need, you may place your donations at: http://www.donateabrick.org/.