Hülkenberg: Renault needs 12-18 months
5 December 2017 – Renault needs another 12 to 18 months of progress to realise its ambition of "fighting at the top" again in Formula 1, according to Nico Hülkenberg.
Hülkenberg joined Renault from Force India for 2017 and predicted another "build-up year" for the French manufacturer, which returned to works status in 2016.
He racked up eight points finishes over the course of the season, including four sixth-place finishes, to push Renault further up the midfield order.
In addition to points scored by Jolyon Palmer and replacement Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault pipped Toro Rosso to sixth in the standings, an improvement of three places over last year.
In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Hülkenberg said: "I said it many times before: 2017 was a build-up year – and shining would be a rather rare situation.
"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."
Hülkenberg's sixth-place finish at the Abu Dhabi season finale proved decisive as Renault gained an extra championship position and the prize money to go with it.
"It will do a lot for the morale, because finishing with a strong result helps everybody," he said.
"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."