Hülkenberg: 2017 still 'build-up' for Renault
26 December 2016 – Nico Hülkenberg says he expects 2017 to be another "build-up" year for Renault, as the French manufacturer continues its push to return to the front of the Formula 1 grid.
Renault, having bought Lotus, made its comeback as a full works team in 2016, but an uncompetitive RS16 package yielded only eight points over the course of the season.
Hülkenberg has made the switch from Force India, which finished five places above Renault in this year's standings, and is under no illusions that progress will take time.
Asked to assess Renault's chances in 2017, which will mark the arrival of overhauled technical regulations, Hülkenberg commented: "I think next year is still a build-up year.
"You have to be realistic, this year they came from a pretty difficult year.
"When they bought the team last year they were in a very tricky situation, especially at the beginning of the season, and didn't really do much in terms of development with this car.
"I hope that next year [Renault] is a little bit better already, but [I] don't expect them to be inside the top six straight away, even the top 10 is probably going to be challenging."
Referencing Renault's investment, Hülkenberg added: "These things take [a long time], to build the infrastructure back up, get good people onboard and develop the car."
Renault is extending its Enstone factory by approximately 800m2, to house the expansion of almost every department, while work structures at Viry-Châtillon have evolved.
Renault's recruitment drive also continues at pace, the team announcing earlier this month that it has signed Ciaron Pilbeam from McLaren as its new Chief Race Engineer.
Hülkenberg will partner Jolyon Palmer at Renault next season.