The battle for fifth on the Constructors’ Championship is still on with Renault looking to fend off Toro Rosso going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.
Pierre Gasly‘s incredible second-place result last time out in Brazil has put the pressure on Renault as they seek to not let a eight-point advantage slip in the final race of the year.
Team Principal, Cyril Abiteboul remains confident that Renault can clinch a top-five spot in the Constructors’ Championship: “Fifth place is up for grabs in the Constructors’ Championship and we face stiff competition to maintain our current position.
“We’re confident in our ability to deliver the results we need over the weekend, but we have learned that the field is close and races are very open.”
Abiteboul offered his thanks to Nico Hulkenberg who leaves the team and Formula 1 after Abu Dhabi, with no more seats available for the German in 2020: “We also say goodbye to Nico after three seasons with the team. His contribution has been instrumental in our reconstruction and progression.
“We have harnessed his experience and ability to deliver strong results and he has played an important role in Renault’s Formula 1 journey.“
Hulkenberg himself has reflected on his time with the French manufacturer and is aiming to finish on a high with the team he has spent three years with.
The 32-year-old said: “It’s been three memorable years for me at Renault. There have been highs and lows, but I’ve enjoyed my time as a driver here.
“We’ve had some great results and some ‘nearly’ moments, all of which I’ll remember for a very long time. I’d like to thank everyone at the team including my engineers and mechanics for all their effort over the last 61 races.”
The Yas Marina Circuit is a tricky one for the drivers with sector three proving pivotal for lap time as the driver requires a car with a good change of direction and stability that can maximise the apex speed through the 90-degree turns.
Hulkenberg is ready to have a well-balanced car immediately when he rolls out onto the track: Yas Marina is an interesting circuit. It’s a long lap with three contrasting sectors, which makes it difficult to find a rhythm. You aim to get comfortable straight away there and find a smooth balance on the car.”
Teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, is ready to attack and score a good points haul in order to prevent Toro Rosso from potentially overcoming the eight-point deficit that they have to Renault.
“Abu Dhabi has always been a pretty good track for me and it’s an enjoyable race, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on track to end the season on a high,” said Ricciardo.
The Australian added: “Having a race that goes from dusk to night is always cool. The weather is good too, so there’s a lot to like about the track and the place.“
There is a significant difference between finishing fifth and finishing sixth in the Constructors’ Championship so Renault will be looking to execute a solid weekend and end 2019 on a more positive note for the team.