Formula 1

Renault F1 team ‘must avoid’ final round showdowns in future – F1

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Renault must avoid putting itself in situations where so much is at stake in the final race of the season in future, claims its Formula 1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

The French manufacturer moved ahead of Toro Rosso to claim sixth in the constructors’ championship in the Abu Dhabi season finale, earning it a $6.5million bonus.

Abiteboul says the stress of such a last-gasp performance needed to be steered clear of in the future.

“The message is that we must avoid putting ourselves in such a position again,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“It can be a very stylish way to finish the season, but we need to have a programme that is allowing us to secure what needs to be secured before that.”

Abiteboul said Renault had been quite “extreme” in its settings during the final weekend of the campaign to make sure that its points target was not wrecked by reliability problems.

“For the last 20 or 25 laps, it was all about tyres, fuel management energy and preserving engine,” he said.

“When you do that, you start to enter into an operating envelope that is not very usual.

“We have been very extreme [in Abu Dhabi], in the way we were preserving the engine and all of that, thanks to the huge team effort of Viry and Enstone.”

Abiteboul said the tight nature of the championship battle meant Renault could not afford to be overly cautious in how it handled Nico Hulkenberg’s controversial off-track pass of Force India’s Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the Yas Marina race.

With Hulkenberg only getting a five-second penalty for the incident, which he could serve at his pitstop, he was able to take the punishment without losing a position, which upset Force India.

Abiteboul said: “There are regulations. There are stewards. They made a decision.

“There was a penalty. We served the penalty. Full stop.

“What else can I do? I am not going to make it worse for our team, given how tight it was. So no further comment on that.”

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