Thuesday, 05 december 2017, 08:37 , by Matthew Scott
Nico Hulkenberg believes that Renault need '12 to 18 months' worth of racing and progression if they are to meet their goal of becoming competitive for championships at the top again, and confessed that 2017 was simply a 'build-up-year' for the French manufacturer to improve.
Renault returned to works status in 2016 and Hulkenberg joined from Force India in 2017 for this season, when the team enjoyed some positive results including eight points finishes for the German.
Hulkenberg seems happy with the development that Renault made over the campaign.
"I said it many times before: 2017 was a build-up year – and shining would be a rather rare situation," he told the Formula One official site.
"It was really great to wrap up the season with a result that made us all go home with our heads held high.
"[Abu Dhabi] showed that we are definitely moving in the right direction – even though I don't have any illusions that the success we are looking for will come overnight.
"In reality I would give it another 12 to 18 months – the aim is to fight at the top, that has not changed."
He added: "We know that we still have homework to do in certain areas, but the signs are all super encouraging, as pace-wise we are getting better and better.
"Actually I am really proud of how we progressed, looking back to where we started."
He has proved to be vital for the team this season and his sixth-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last of the season, meant that Renault finished sixth in the constructor rankings overall, something which he believes will give everyone a boost before next season.
"It will do a lot for the morale, because finishing with a strong result helps everybody," he continued.
"And, of course, more funds always help – no doubt about that!
"I would say that we had a good package the whole second part of the season, though we had so many issues that cost us so many good results and so many points along the way.
"Abu Dhabi was a bit like recovering some of what we had lost and finishing on a positive note.".