Despite making progress of their own, the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team are currently unable to match the progress being made by Red Bull Racing, according to their lead driver Nico Hülkenberg.
Renault have only scored eighteen points so far this season – all for Hülkenberg – but Red Bull have taken one victory with Daniel Ricciardo in Azerbaijan and four further podiums in the opening eight races to sit third in the championship on 137-points.
Red Bull use the same Renault power unit as the works team but Hülkenberg feels his team are not yet up to the same kind of development of their rivals, and as such it is much tougher for them to get better results.
“Red Bull are one of the top teams – their rate of development has been quite impressive,” said Hülkenberg on Autosport. “From the start of the season to now they made big steps forward.
“We did too, but obviously not at the same magnitude. We’re not on that level yet. It’s little things, they’re not transforming the car or putting 20 points of downforce on.
“It is tough, it all needs to come together for us, we need to do a really good job, sometimes we need a bit of luck and help as well – people to drop out.”
Hülkenberg feels positive that the team are heading in the right direction, and from what he has seen, he is even more positive that 2018 will be a much better campaign than this year, with the aim to be a genuine front-running team from next season.
“The team is moving in the right direction,” insisted Hülkenberg. “There’s a lot of good stuff in the pipeline and coming in, in a later point in the season. All the signs are good and encouraging. It’s just keep your head down and work hard.
“The ’18 development has already been on the road for some time, so it’s obviously quite advanced. There’s some good signs there. The gap to the front is big, so we need a lot of performance.
“It’s always relative, what you target, but we target that next year we obviously want to be well inside the top 10 all the time – not even top 10, probably top eight, permanently. So we have to make a big step to fulfil the expectations.”