Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: We head to Abu Dhabi on the back of a disappointing performance in Brazil, especially after our solid races in the United States and Mexico.
As always, we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves down and we’re fully focused on the task that lies ahead. This final race of the season is very important for the team.
There’s still a job to do in Abu Dhabi and we expect to finish the season as we started it in Australia; with both cars competitive and inside the top ten.
Of course, Abu Dhabi will be Carlos’ final race with us. His contribution to Renault‘s journey in Formula 1 over these 14 months has been very positive and we are extremely thankful for what he has achieved. Carlos is as good outside of the race seat as he is behind the wheel and he’s been a credit to the team. After the race we will wish him every success for his future.
Across Renault Sport Racing, we have some of our young drivers back racing after a long break. We will be keeping an eye on the GP3 Series, in particular, as Anthoine Hubert aims to lift the Drivers’ Championship. This would be an excellent achievement both for Anthoine and our young driver programme.
Finally, we will be welcoming many of our partners and guests in Abu Dhabi as we look forward to this unique race that has gained much popularity over the years.
As the team prepares for the 21st and final Grand Prix of 2018, Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester outlines the key characteristics of the Yas Marina Circuit as well as the number of targets still to achieve in Abu Dhabi.
What are the main considerations for the Yas Marina Circuit?
Nick Chester: It’s a circuit with a good number of low and medium speed corners. We have to work on finding a good balance on the car and getting everything out from it. The sectors are quite different from one another. The first features high-speed corners with sector two comprising of two long straights and two hard-braking zones. The final sector is slower and very twisty, so it can be tricky to find a balance with the car all the way around the track.
Another consideration point is the timing of the conditions. FP1 and FP3 are very hot, but the track cools for FP2, qualifying and the race. You end up having a different balance and set-up on the car for those sessions. FP2 is the important one, because in FP1 it’s almost a different car due to the high temperatures.
It’s Carlos’ final race with the team, how would you assess his contribution?
NC: Carlos has been a valuable addition as he’s worked incredibly hard to benefit the team. He’s very committed, quick in the car and his feedback has been excellent, similar to Nico’s as they both share the same ideas. Carlos works very closely with his engineers to further understand the package, which has helped us improve our knowledge and development throughout the season.
What are the team’s targets for the final race of the season?
NC: We want to have a good final race and extend the points gap in fourth to really stamp it home. We’ve also had a very good result this year where we’ve not stopped the car in a race through a chassis fault. We would be the only team to have done that, so bringing both cars home in Abu Dhabi would cap off this season.
What’s the latest on Enstone and plans for 2019?
NC: There’s a lot going on with the 2019 car and we’re well advanced in making the first chassis. We’ve got the gearbox, which will be tested soon. We’re finishing design work for parts such as the cooling, suspension and the bodywork. It’s flat out at this time of the year as we have to get through a lot of drawings to get the car made. It’s been busy and we’re making strong progress.