Formula 1 2017's final championship battle set for Abu Dhabi swing

Renault Sport Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul likens the battle for sixth in the constructors' championship to Las Vegas because so much money is at stake in a single race

Formula 1 2017's final championship battle set for Abu Dhabi swing

The difference in the F1 prize scale between sixth and seventh is approximately $6.5million, with a slightly smaller jump from seventh to eighth.

Toro Rosso currently holds sixth, four points clear of Renault, with Haas another two behind.

While Toro Rosso was briefly as high as fourth in its strong start to the season, it has been reeled in by the improving Renault through the year.

Constructors' championship battle

Pos Constructor Points
6 Toro Rosso/Renault 53
7 Renault 49
8 Haas/Ferrari 47

If Nico Hulkenberg finishes in the seventh position he qualified in, Renault will vault to sixth. Neither Toro Rosso made it out of Q1 and the top Haas is Kevin Magnussen in 14th.

Abiteboul is disappointed that such a significant sum is on the line in one race.

"I don't like that," he told Autosport.

"I'm involved in F1, which is extremely process drive, quality driven, and long term projects.

"I am not in Las Vegas, so I don't like that position. We need to deal with it, and make sure next year it's not the same situation.

"If we finish in the same position that's perfect, but we know also we have the reliability situation.

"We understand a bit more, but it's still not sorted out, it's still the same parts that we were using before, so who knows what could happen."

Despite the sums involved, Abiteboul says the prestige associated with gaining another place in the table is more important for Renault.

"The money is always a factor. But we are part of the Renault Group, the largest manufacturer in the world," he said.

"Obviously I am accountable for our P&L, and what we cost to the group.

"But frankly I think sixth position is more important for the motivation, for the reward, and for the sign that this is sending to everyone.

"The reality is that in the championship we are fighting against Haas and Toro Rosso, and on the track we are fighting against Force India and Williams. Which one of these is an accurate representation?

"I would like to leave Abu Dhabi on a high, with the motivation that we need for the winter to do what we need to do for where we need to be next year."

With Carlos Sainz Jr 12th on the grid after a loss of power on his final Q2 lap, Abiteboul said "we can maybe split a little bit the approach" in strategy.

Toro Rosso starts only 17th and 20th with Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.

"It's a big race of course, because we are talking about a huge amount of money," team principal Franz Tost told Autosport.

"Looking at the grid it's enough for Renault.

"We are not as competitive as we expected to be. Maybe in the race it looks better, or I hope at least it looks better than in qualifying.

"I just hope that the top teams will finish the race, which means two Mercedes, two Ferraris, two Red Bulls and hopefully also two Force Indias will be front of the others."

Tost does not expect Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz to make up the funding difference should Toro Rosso drop down the championship order.

"I don't think this will be the case," he said. "I have to find the money, it's as simple as that."

Haas remains an outside bet to improve on eighth with Magnussen starting 14th and Romain Grosjean 16th.

"We need to try," said team principal Gunther Steiner. "We've started in this position before and ended up with points, so for sure we're not giving up yet.

"The Toro Rossos are behind us, but we need to make the points. It's not beating them - if we are 11th and 12th it doesn't help us.

"We need to get points, which will be very difficult, but not impossible in my opinion.

"There's no big strategy or no big magic play to be done, it's just go out and race, maybe get a little bit lucky, race hard, try to be there if there's some points to be given out, and see what's happening."

shares
comments
Valtteri Bottas learned from wasting Brazilian GP pole - Mercedes

Previous article

Valtteri Bottas learned from wasting Brazilian GP pole - Mercedes

Next article

Ferrari would hurt itself it quit Formula 1 - FIA president Todt

Ferrari would hurt itself it quit Formula 1 - FIA president Todt
Load comments
Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021