Renault will need to 'push like hell' if it is going to meet the targets set by Carlos Ghosn for Formula 1, claims new racing director Frederic Vasseur.
Although some have suggested that Ghosn's ambitions for Renault to be delivering podium finishes in three years' time seems to downplay things, Vasseur and Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul are clear that there are some tough times ahead.
"We have to push like hell now on the reliability, the chassis, the engine, the mechanics," said Vasseur at the Renault team launch in Paris.
"We know the situation. We know we took over the company on the 19th of December. It's not to be P9 or P7 or P5.
"The first objective is to be able to build up a strong team and a good basis for the next years."
Abiteboul, who has helped guide Renault's return to F1 as a works entrant, thinks that the podium target for 2018 is realistic, and not lacking ambition.
"If you look at Red Bull, it took five years. Mercedes, five years. So why do you say it is low ambitions? I think it is realistic ambitions," he said.
"We cannot come here and say we are going to score podiums this year. That is absolutely impossible.
"We decided this programme on December 8, I think we completed the acquisition after December 18 – so it is impossible to score podiums this year.
"But everything we do this year has to be the construction of performance for 2017 and 2018. In my opinion, a podium in 2018 is absolutely possible."
No public 2016 targets
Abiteboul also said that it would be wrong to declare set aims for the team in 2016, as more important for the outfit's future was in ensuring it was ready to make good progress for next season.
"We have not quantified targets. We don't have that. What we want to be: we want to have a reasonable, reliable, easy to work with platform, on which we can build – both from an engine and a chassis perspective," he explained.
"We want mileage for the team, for the drivers, for everyone to get the data that they need to build 2017/2018. So we want something easy.
"We do not want to have headaches, or issues – we have asked Enstone to be quite conservative with their solution and their approach and it will be the same thing from Viry. We think we know what we have to do.
"We are not going to try to rush introduction of things that will not be ready. We need to be careful on that. But what we want to be sure of is to recreate ambition – so we are not going to be easy on the team.
"Because if you say there is no target for 2016 there is only a target for 2017, it is not a good message to send internally.
"There will be a target but it will not be a podium or a championship target."
Vasseur added: "I have to follow the roadmap of the chief. But we have to ready to be on the podium on the third season and fight for the championship on the fifth."