Former Grand Prix star Jean Alesi says the newly re-established Renault works team has "no chance" of scoring podiums on its first year back in Formula 1.
The 2011 season was the last time that the Renault name was used as a constructor, after which the Enstone-based outfit was rebranded as Lotus.
But the French manufacturer has chosen to make a comeback as a full works outfit by buying back its former operation, after two seasons of struggling to supply competitive engines to its customers.
Alesi, who raced for the team in 1996 and 1997 when it was known as Benetton, welcomed Renault's return, but warned it would need time to recreate its past successes.
"This is very important for [France], because we used to have in the past Grands Prix," he told Motorsport.com.
"And now with the comeback of Renault, not only for the next year but for the long-term future, it will be very helpful for France."
Asked if he thought Renault could score podiums this season, Alesi said: "No chance in 2016 - they have to re-create the team and it is going to be a transitional period."
Close call between Hamilton and Rosberg
The former Ferrari driver also said, while it would have been great for the fans had the 2015 championship been decided in Abu Dhabi, it was still a good season overall.
He added that both Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are evenly matched, and that the latter's reliability issues had a big impact on the outcome.
"I think the performance is very close between Hamilton and Rosberg," Alesi said. "Even if Hamilton won the championship, Rosberg was always there.
"And then the reliability problems made a big difference [for Rosberg]. Both of them were really competitive."
While also praising Force India's "consistent" performance, Alesi said the surprise of the year was the emergence of Dutch sensation Max Verstappen.
"For me the surprise was Verstappen," he said. "There was pressure from the press, and at a very young age he performed really well," he said. "To see a young driver doing a good job, it is nice."