Toro Rosso duo Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly have admitted the team ends the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship on a low after losing sixth place in the constructors’ standings to Renault at the final round.

The Italian squad entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a four point advantage over Renault but struggling with a lack of healthy remaining engine parts the team accepted a tough task to hunt for points at the season finale at the Yas Marina circuit.

With Hartley hit by a 10-place grid drop for an MGU-H change, while both drivers were off the pace of the midfield pack, points were out of reach and coupled with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg securing sixth place the French manufacturer overturned the deficit to steal sixth place and with it the millions of extra pounds in prize money – estimated to be £6.37m.

While Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost refused to comment on the result – having sparked a bitter trading of words with Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul in Brazil by accusing the French manufacturer of supplying substandard parts to gain an edge in the constructors’ race – both Hartley and Gasly disappointedly accepted the result for the team heading into 2018.

“It was always going to be an uphill struggle for us to hang on to that sixth place in the Championship and it's a real shame to lose it,” Hartley said. “I'm obviously massively disappointed. On the positive side, I have to say that during these last few weeks with the team I've learned a lot and already feel like at home – this is something very important to take into next year.

Gasly shared his sympathy for his new team but is keen to make amends in 2018 with Toro Rosso beginning its new partnership with Honda having ditched Renault as its engine supplier.

“I'm really disappointed with the fact of not being able to keep sixth place in the championship,” Gasly said. “This was the target – we knew it would be tough, but in the end it wasn't possible. We struggled a lot in today's race, it's been a really tough day and I'm not satisfied with I did. I pushed too much and did a mistake which cost me a lot of time.

“It's frustrating to end the season like this and I feel sorry for the team for not having achieved the target.

“On the positive, these last races with Toro Rosso have been very useful for me to gain plenty of experience and this will definitely help me to start next year on the right foot. I'm already looking forward to 2018.”

 

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