Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has conceded it will be a “tall order” for the French manufacturer to catch Williams and achieve its pre-season target of P5 in the constructors’ championship through the final two races of the year.
Renault saw its hopes of moving up from seventh in the teams’ standings last weekend in Mexico take a hit when both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Nico Hulkenberg were forced to retire, having run high in the order after a chaotic first lap for the leaders.
The result saw eighth-placed Haas draw to within a point of Renault, while Williams was able to move out to 28 points clear in P5. Toro Rosso sits five points ahead of Renault in sixth.
Despite holding optimism prior to the races in the United States and Mexico, Abiteboul has conceded taking P5 will be tough for Renault now, but has targeted sitting sixth come the end of next weekend’s race in Brazil.
“The team remains confident and united, which is essential to maintain progress to the end of the season, and also for our preparations for 2018. We have the means; our organization is stable, robust and competent,” Abiteboul said.
“This season we set ourselves the goal of fifth in the constructors’ championship. Whilst achieving this is still mathematically possible, it is now a tall order after a race where we didn’t score points.
“Mexico highlighted our performance potential. Both cars sadly retired, however the two cars reached Q3 and lined up seventh and eighth on the grid and were in fourth and fifth at the end of the first lap. Points were clearly within our reach.
“There are now two grands prix remaining. We will do everything we can to be sixth at the end of the weekend.”