The team had enjoyed two fine outings in both the USA and Mexico GPs where its German driver Nico Hülkenberg had managed a pair of excellent sixth place finishes.
However he and Spanish team-mate Carlos Sainz then failed to score in the season’s penultimate round in Brazil where, fortunately, the team’s closest rival Haas was unable to capitalise.
It all meant that heading to Abu Dhabi (the race took place on 25 Nov), Renault held a sizeable 23-point advantage over Haas in the race to be fourth in the constructors’ table.
Notably its points tally heading into the season finale was double what it achieved in the whole of 2017 (114 compared to 57) – showing the improvements that have been made in 2018.
Looking ahead to the race, Renault Sport Racing’s Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul commented: “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.
Meanwhile drivers Hülkenberg and Sainz were both looking to end their season on a high – Hülkenberg went into the race in seventh in the standings, 11 points clear of closest challenger, Force India’s Sergio Perez.
The German said: “There’s a lot at stake for the team in the Constructors’ Championship. Last year it went down to the wire and, while this season we have more of a points cushion, we go there knowing there’s a job to do and anything can happen.”
For Sainz, Abu Dhabi was set to mark his final appearance with Renault in F1 having joined the Anglo-French team towards the end of the 2017 season.
Going into the race he was 12th in the standings knowing that a top ten overall was possible if he could equal his best result of the season – a fifth place finish in Azerbaijan.
He reflected: “I’m definitely looking forward to Abu Dhabi as it will be an interesting finale. We would like a bit more performance from the car for the last race and I know the team is working hard to get back into the points there. Hopefully it will be a good last race for the team and I can end this spell on a really bright note.”