Romain Grosjean’s final Grand Prix with the team took another twist in Abu Dhabi, as gearbox damage left the Frenchman two places behind team-mate Pastor in fifteenth after qualifying.
An issue during Q2 meant the team had to attempt a fix within the time limit. Romain was able to return to the track, but soon came to a stop on the Yas Marina circuit.
The Frenchman believed he had the pace to push in the battle for Q3 before his gearbox chose to be uncooperative.
“The gearbox went and it’s a shame,” he said. “I think she was a bit tired! We struggled a bit this weekend but made a great time in Q1 so we might have had a chance at Q3 if it had all worked out.”
Instead he is provisionally fifteenth, but could start at the back with a gearbox change requiring a penalty.
“There’s a good chance we’ll have to change the gearbox and start from the back with the penalty,” he said. “There’s nothing else we can do although we’re all doing our best. Maybe I can have the gearbox as a leaving present!”
Team-mate Pastor was able to run smoothly in Q2, but was unable to find enough extra pace to make the top ten shootout.
“We expected a difficult qualifying session so P13 is not so bad,” he said. “You need a lot of downforce around here and that’s an area where we’re a bit lacking, especially at this time of the season.”
Quick to move his attention to tomorrow, the Venezuelan is keen to finish the season on a high.
“It’s the final race of the year tomorrow so we’ll do everything we can to get a decent result.”
Romain added: “I need to try to overtake a lot of cars and aim for the best finish possible. Points look ambitious but it’s a long race where things like hot over-working brakes and safety cars can help me aim for it.”
Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane believes improvements can be made in tomorrow’s season-ending race.
“It was frustrating,” he said. “It was clear from FP3 that we would struggle for qualifying pace today. Our race performance should be stronger relative to the opposition so we will be trying to work our way up the order albeit at a circuit where overtaking is not so easy. It will be a tough race but as always we will give it our best shot.”