Ahead of the unveiling of their RS18, Nico Hulkenberg acknowledges that Renault still need “two-three years” to get to the level of Mercedes and Red Bull.
Having bought the F1 back back from Lotus, Renault have been in a period of rebuilding over the past two years.
It is something that Cyril Abiteboul believes will continue this year with the managing director hoping that 2019 will see a sharp improvement in Renault’s form.
Hulkenberg, though, reckons two or even three years are needed before Renault can consider a title challenge.
“It is a very time-consuming thing to get a team to the level that Red Bull and Mercedes are,” he 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.
“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.”