Hulkenberg: Renault not 'guaranteed' to develop into a leading F1 team

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Nico Hulkenberg admits there is no "guarantee" that Renault will develop into a front-running Formula 1 team.

The German joined the Enstone outfit in 2017 to lead their push to become a race-winning, title-contending once again, as they were with Fernando Alonso in the mid-2000s.

However, after finishing fourth in the Constructors' standings last year, Renault hasn't pushed on this season and the gap to the top three teams remains stubbornly large.

“It’s not guaranteed. Nothing is guaranteed,” Hulkenberg told Formula1.com on if that step could be taken. "For sure, a lot's been invested, a lot of work has been done.

"The facilities are pretty different now, much more up to speed, all the infrastructure back in the factories, a lot more people working as well.

"The whole team operation has grown. I see a lot of good things that have happened during the last 24 months. I feel we have a good foundation now.

"But we need to really prove it. We need to get the job done. So I'm confident we can go a long way. How far? Only time will tell."

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For 2019, Daniel Ricciardo joined the German in believing in the Renault project and has seemingly taken over from Nico as the lead driver trying to direct the team forward.

That has now led to rumours over the future of Hulkenberg at the team, with Esteban Ocon's name mentioned, but the man himself isn't worried.

“It’s actually the first time I’ve heard this but I'm not surprised," he said.

"We are a very performance-orientated sport and business, and that's normal. If you don't perform, you're quicker out the door than you know.

"So I'm not worried or surprised at all.

"My own expectations to myself are very high, and of course the team's are as well. They hired me for a reason, so of course, you have to deliver as a driver."

For the 31-year-old, Renault was also seen as his final chance to fulfil the potential of a career that many believe has been wasted in F1's midfield.

"You need to be in the right place at the right moment with the right car and team," he acknowledged. "Unfortunately that timing for me in my career has never been perfect. I've never been in that sweet spot.

“Of course, I would have liked to have race victories to my name, championships etc. but obviously we know how it works in Formula 1."

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