Nico Hulkenberg fully expects Renault to struggle in 2017
Nico Hulkenberg isn't expecting miracles in 2017 and says he fully expects Renault to struggle as it continues to build up its team in only its second season since it returned to the sport as a works manufacturer.
Renault took over the struggling Lotus team at the end of 2015 and used 2016 as restructuring season, but that work is ongoing with several technical signings recently as well as substantially increasing the size of its factory in Enstone.
Hulkenberg, who joins Renault from Force India – which is enjoying a strong run of form lately – fully expects the Anglo-French team to struggle next year as it continues to build up its facilities before making a mark on the championship.
"I think next year is still a build-up year," said the German. "You have to be realistic, this year they came from a pretty difficult year.
"When they bought the team last year they were in a very tricky situation, especially at the beginning of the season, and didn't really do much in terms of development with this car.
"I hope that next year it is a little bit better already, but [I] don't expect them to be inside the top six straight away, even the top 10 is probably going to be challenging."
Hulkenberg made it clear that he is involved long-term and isn't therefore worried if the results he wants don't materalise immediately.
"These things take time, to build the infrastructure back up, get good people onboard and develop the car."