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Renault success still a few years down the road – Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg is projecting two to three years before Renault is capable of challenging the likes of Mercedes at the front of the field.

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The French team, which will unveil its 2018 car this afternoon at Enstone, is on the eve of its third year in F1 since its return to the sport in 2016 following its buyout of Lotus.

Senior management established a five-year plan to bring Renault back to the front of the field, an estimate which lines up with Hulkenberg’s own assessment.

“It is a very time-consuming thing to get a team to the level that Red Bull and Mercedes are,” Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com.

“The investment they make now in building and modernising the factory, the benefit we will get only in two/three years’ time – not until everything is up and running and we understand it.

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“There is always such a long lead-up time. They have all been through the same. Look at Mercedes, how many years they were OK but not where they are now. Red Bull, the same.

“It takes a couple of years to get on top of these things because this is such a complicated sport and then the rules keep changing so constantly the game is changing.

“You need to adapt all the time and you need new people with new ideas, and more people.”

While Renault is a work in progress, Hulkenberg insists the works squad’s efforts weren’t helped by the low point from where it started.

“You have to understand where the team has come from, and when Renault decided to buy the team back and make it a factory team again, it was in a very bad state,” said the German driver.

“It takes time to build it back up, even though we would like to make it in two weeks, it doesn’t happen.”

Hulkenberg notes the team’s progress in 2017 made it “top-ten material” in the second half of the season. But there were also a lot of botched opportunities according to him.

“There were a lot of missed opportunities due to many problems that we had and faced, but related back to where the team was coming from.

“We need to get on top of these things. I would rather have it now and come with a much more competitive overall better package for 2018 and the year beyond and smash it properly then, than have these things in intervals.”

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