Nico Hulkenberg admits that Renault are “behind expectations” since their Formula 1 return, but he is likely to stay for 2020.
An up-and-down 2019 has left the French manufacturer P5 in the Constructors’ Championship when they had been hoping to build on their best-of-the-rest P4 finish from last season.
However, while Hulkenberg believes the two-time Drivers’ and Constructors’ champions are “behind expectations” after returning to the series three years ago, he expects to still be around in 2020.
“It’s fair to say that so far this season we can’t be entirely happy with what we have achieved,” he told reporters during Thursday’s driver press conference ahead of the German GP.
“To start with we had a lot of issues and missed out on results, a little more disappointing is where we are in terms of pace, it’s not really where we needed it and wanted it to be.
“We’re behind expectations this year, and if you look across the three years [that Renault have been back in Formula 1] we can’t be entirely happy with everything that we have done.
“Nevertheless the outlook is still good, we see light at the end of the tunnel and believe we can still catch up to some extent, how much is always difficult to say with entire certainty.”
Not long back Hulkenberg had been linked with a move to Red Bull, but while he insists “nothing is set in stone”, he believes his most likely home for 2020 is Renault.
“We will see what happens in the future and to me as well,” he said.
“For now there is nothing set in stone, but I think it’s quite likely that I will remain with the team [for 2020].”
Renault are locked in a battle with their customer team McLaren who currently hold P4 with a 21-point margin over them.
Hulkenberg accepts that the pair are major rivals to each other in 2019, but believes the gap could have been smaller with a bit of luck.
“Well that’s a fact, it is 21 points, But I think probably we could have been right up there with them if you add up the complications we had and the missed results,” he stressed.
“We should be there or thereabouts but I think for sure McLaren look very strong at the moment and are probably one of our main competitors that we will be battling with from here until towards the end.”