Nico Hulkenberg says he accepts Renault might need another two to three years to match Mercedes in Formula 1.
Renault is about to begin its third year back in F1 as a full factory operation, having reacquired what was previously the Lotus team and committed major investment to improving its facilities.
"It is a very time-consuming thing to get a team to the level that Red Bull and Mercedes are," Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com.
"The investment they make now in building and modernising the factory, the benefit we will get only in two/three years' time - not until everything is up and running and we understand it.
"There is always such a long lead-up time. They have all been through the same. Look at Mercedes, how many years they were OK but not where they are now. Red Bull, the same.
"It takes a couple of years to get on top of these things because this is such a complicated sport and then the rules keep changing so constantly the game is changing.
"You need to adapt all the time and you need new people with new ideas, and more people."
Renault won the 2005 and '06 championships with its previous works programme, but the team suffered from underinvestment in the period when it was owned by the Genii organisation.
"I don't know if I would call it a radical shift, but you see with your bare eye that a lot of things are moving or being worked on constantly," said Hulkenberg of the progress at Renault's base.
"You have to understand where the team has come from, and when Renault decided to buy the team back and make it a factory team again, it was in a very bad state.
"It takes time to build it back up, even though we would like to make it in two weeks, it doesn't happen."
Renault ended 2017 sixth in the constructors' championship, overhauling Toro Rosso and Haas in the second half of the campaign.
"The Silverstone upgrade was the game changer during our season," Hulkenberg said.
"It really made us up from not really being points material, to being a regular points contender. We were top 10 material in the second half.
"But on the not so sunny side, there were a lot of missed opportunities due to many problems that we had and faced, but related back to where the team was coming from.
"We need to get on top of these things. I would rather have it now and come with a much more competitive overall better package for 2018 and the year beyond and smash it properly it then, than have these things in intervals."