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."

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