Hulkenberg: Renault improving but still in ‘development phase’

Nico Hulkenberg is keeping expectations regarding Renault’s future in check, insisting the French outfit is still in the development phase of its long-term growth plan.

The works team is currently fourth in the Constructors’ standings behind the unassailable Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull trio, but has seen its performance level decrease in the last few races, allowing rival Haas to challenge its ‘best of the rest’ status.

“The battle is tight in the middle of the grid,” Hulkenberg told L’Equipe at the Paris motor show on Tuesday.

“The other teams have worked a lot to make life difficult for us and we haven’t looked very good. But we still have a good car and I think we can improve in the last four races and keep fourth place.

“Fourth is an improvement over last year. We are going in the right direction,” he added.

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Hulkenberg joined Renault in 2017 and his witnessed the manufacturer’s progress. But the German driver underlined the work that lay ahead, admitting it would likely be another “few years” before the French squad would be in a position to challenge for wins on its merit, an assessment that would perhaps disappoint Hulk’s future team mate, the ambitious Daniel Ricciardo.

“I arrived last year and I’ve seen the team grow enormously with the investments made by Renault,” said Hulkenberg.”

“The premises and equipment were improved and there were more people hired and more resources. Everything that can be expected from a manufacturer is there.

“Our ambition is always to be at the front, fighting for podiums and victories in a few years, but we are still in the development phase,” he added.

“I think we have put in place the structure we can build on in the next few years.”

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