After a tough 2019 Formula 1 campaign, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul is determined to see his team keep hold of fifth place in the world constructors’ championship after losing touch with McLaren ahead of the final round.

With McLaren taking a strong points haul at the Brazilian Grand Prix, highlighted by Carlos Sainz’s promoted third place, it has moved the Woking-based team out of reach of Renault with just the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to go.

As a result, Renault will look to defend fifth place in the standings from Toro Rosso who surged up to sixth place thanks to Pierre Gasly’s second place at Interlagos last time out which sees the Faenza-based squad just eight points off Renault.

“The last race of the season is a time for us to reflect on a difficult 2019,” Abiteboul said. “We have had high points: a double score in Italy and strong results in Mexico, USA and Brazil, but a disappointing start of the season marked by many issues where we have had to dig deep and discover new resourcefulness.

“We enter the final race in Abu Dhabi with the pressure still firmly on. Fifth place is up for grabs in the Constructors’ Championship and we face stiff competition to maintain our current position. We’re confident in our ability to deliver the results we need over the weekend, but we have learned that the field is close and races are very open.”

Abiteboul has also paid tribute to Nico Hulkenberg who leaves Renault after three seasons at the end of this weekend and is replaced by Esteban Ocon from 2020. The French driver will officially join Renault at the post-Abu Dhabi GP tyre test held the week after the race.

“We also say goodbye to Nico after three seasons with the team. His contribution has been instrumental in our reconstruction and progression,” he said.

“We have harnessed his experience and ability to deliver strong results and he has played an important role in Renault’s Formula 1 journey. We want to ensure we end our time together with the best result possible.”