Bruno Senna is hopeful that the smooth track surface at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit will minimize the Renault R31's inherent weakness in slow corners.
Renault heads into this weekend as an outside contender for points after its struggles in Singapore in September, where Senna was able to qualify and finish only 15th. But the Brazilian believes that the team's performance level will be better than that this weekend even though its unique forward-exit exhausts have not worked as hope in slow corners.
"We know that this is not going to be the strongest circuit for us because there are a few too many slow corners," he said. "Pretty much all of them are slow corners, so it's like Singapore. But we're hoping that because it's not bumpy, it's not going to be as bad.
"The problem we have is with traction out of the slow corners. If you have poor traction, and you add bumps to the traction event, then everything is made two or three times worse because it makes the contact patch of the tires much smaller. There is the potential for the off-camber corners putting us off a bit as well, but in general it should be less bad than at the other slow, bumpy tracks."
Senna expects the midfield pack to be tightly bunched in Abu Dhabi and that Renault's hopes of scoring points depend on getting the absolute maximum out of the car. This is because small margins can make a big difference in terms of position, with Renault one of five teams fighting for the minor points places.
"The only way for us to get points is to have a perfect weekend," he said. "We are in the position where if you lose three tenths on your qualifying lap, or if your car is three tenths off, you can go from 10th to 15th.
"Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Williams and us are very close together. So if you make a small mistake you can be very far away from the points. It shows how important it is to get everything together, so hopefully we can do two perfect race weekends here and in Brazil to finish the season well."