Renault Formula 1 Team Not Expecting to Win Races Until 2020
Success is a long way off for the Gallic team.
In the world of Formula 1, being part of a manufacturer-backed team is the goal of almost every driver. Works teams have the financial stability, technology, personnel, and cooperation between design teams to make even the most generously funded and hardworking privateer teams envious. For that reason, Renault Sport F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg was delighted to sign with his current team, as it meant excellent prospects for his future success in the sport, including the potential of taking the World Drivers' Championship within the next few seasons.
Of course, Renault has not gotten off to a promising start. The Enstone-based team has only just recorded their first top six finish since Romain Grosjean scored the team's last podium at the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix. And that lack of podium finishes seems likely to remain the norm for a while. According to Alain Prost, a former Formula 1 driver and World Champion who is now an advisor for the Renault team, the team will not field a car capable of winning races in 2018 or 2019.
This impacts not only Hülkenberg, who would like to be on the way to scoring his first podium of his Formula 1 career, but also Fernando Alonso, who won two consecutive World Championships with the team in 2005 and 2006. Alonso, because of his well-documented frustration with the McLaren-Honda team has have failed to deliver him a competitive car, is considering his options for the 2018 season—among which was a return to Renault, before Prost counted the team out:
We have to be very realistic. I have been in this business for almost 40 years and l know how difficult it is going to be [...] We have to be really careful about that. We want to progress but we cannot have stupid objectives only because Fernando would be there.
As much as any driver, especially a World Champion like Alonso or Prost, may want to win in the near future...even hoping for such an option may be unreasonable for Renault.