Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul revealed the team are being “very careful” in preparing for an important Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Renault have had a mixed season in 2017 with reliability issues, crashes and a lineup change all striking at some point throughout their campaign. They currently sit in a precarious seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, just four points behind Scuderia Toro Rosso and two points ahead of Haas F1 Team. A good result in Abu Dhabi could see the team earn millions more in prize money, whilst a bad result could see them drop down below Haas and miss out on millions.
With so much at stake, Abiteboul is being cautious over the team’s preparations for the final race.
“This race is almost a championship in itself as we are in a tight battle with Toro Rosso and Haas, and everything is still to play for. Either one of us could finish between sixth and eighth position so we are being very careful with our preparations.
“We will have to combine an approach that is at the same time attacking, as we need five points more than Toro Rosso to get sixth, but also conservative as we are just two points ahead of Haas. We can be positive about our prospects.”
Renault famously borrowed one of Toro Rosso’s drivers mid-way through the season, taking Carlos Sainz Jr. following the departure of Brit Jolyon Palmer. Since the switch Toro Rosso have gained one point (courtesy of the now dropped Daniil Kvyat) whilst Renault have gained seven. The new partnership has proved a hit for the French team, and is one that Abiteboul is keen to praise.
“Abu Dhabi will be the fourth race Nico and Carlos have worked together and we have had two double Q3 performances. They work well together and push each other in the right direction, allowing us to point our development accurately and accelerate elements that add performance to the car.
“Whatever the result this weekend, we already have the confidence of a strong driver line-up next season. Despite the importance of the weekend, we are also looking towards 2018 and notably the French GP. Given the high standard of the track and hospitality we will have a lot of VIPs from Renault and our partners at this event.”