Thuesday, 13 march 2018, 07:54 , by Martin Macdonald
Formula One legend and current special advisor to Renault, Alain Prost, has insisted that the team "will progress" in the 2018 campaign, but did not go as far as to lay out specific targets or goals "because in motor racing it doesn't work like that."
Renault returned to Grand Prix racing in 2016 following their takeover of the Lotus F1 team in 2015, and will be embarking on their third season back when Melbourne kicks off next Sunday.
They have steadily improved since their comeback, and have impressed in pre-season testing for the upcoming campaign. Prost predicts further progress, but refuses to predict as to when Renault will return to race success.
"In 2018 we will progress and gradually become stronger," Prost told Nice Matin.
"Theoretically, the top three teams retain a great advantage and it will be difficult to catch them.But by the middle of the season we will have new parts and you can never exclude the possibility of being on the podium.
"I think it's pointless to name specific goals, because in motor racing it doesn't work like that. The team is continuing to restructure, many new employees are appearing and the Enstone factory is improved. Soon the same will happen in Viry.
"When will our efforts be rewarded -- tomorrow or the day after? It's still too early to say. First, let's see what progress we make this year."
Prost is a four-time F1 world champion which puts him on par with current drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Prost admits that Hamilton has an advantage going into the 2018 season over the other drivers, which means he will likely usurp the Frenchman's tally of four titles.
"Judging by the winter tests, Lewis has a slight advantage. Very small," he said.
"But it's a long season -- 21 races! Anything can happen and surprises are possible. In my opinion, Red Bull is very competitive as well."