The French manufacturer’s take-over of Lotus at the end of 2015 and its subsequent 2016 campaign led to challenging times for the former world champions.
But it knew from the outset that a move up the ranks was always going to be part of programme spanning several years.
New recruit Hulkenberg, who joined Renault from Force India on a multi-year basis, is expecting more of the same next season.
“I think next year is still a build-up year. We have to be realistic,” Hulkenberg said.
“This year they come from a pretty difficult year, and obviously when they bought the team last year they were in a very tricky situation, especially at the beginning of the season.
Hulkenberg is setting any specific targets for 2017 in terms of race results, although running consistently in the points is eventually what he’ll be looking for.
“They didn’t do much in terms of development of this car [RS16], so I hope next year is a little bit better already. But I don’t expect to be there in the top six straight away, even top 10 is going to be challenging.
“These things take long – to build an infrastructure back up and get good people back on board and develop the car.”
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