Renault test form hasn't "matched our expectations" - Hulkenberg

Renault newcomer Nico Hulkenberg says the outfit's form in 2017 pre-season testing in Barcelona has been below expectations, even though it has made clear progress compared to last year.

Renault test form hasn't "matched our expectations" - Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17

Renault endured a difficult comeback campaign in 2016 after its late takeover of Lotus, but early signs were positive for its new RS17 challenger, which ended the first week of Barcelona testing fourth quickest among the F1 2017 crop.

But week two has not been as kind to the French team, with a reoccurring ERS issue denying the RS17 crucial mileage.

Hulkenberg, who joined Renault from Force India for the 2017 campaign, admits the team was looking for a stronger performance in Barcelona.

"I don't think we matched our expectations. We discovered a few things that are not as we would like them to be," he said.

"So this is how it is. Now we have to work hard to improve and get into the right direction.

"We would have liked to do a bit more set-up tests, which we couldn't do as we were lacking time due to reliability issues. So we couldn't do everything we would have liked.

"We still have potential to go faster. And we still have plenty of work to do on the car. But the year is long. So I hope we can improve."

"Points will be difficult"

Renault made the top 10 in only three races during the 2016 campaign, and Hulkenberg reckons that the team consistently challenging for points remains an unlikely prospect at this moment, despite the improvements compared to last year.

"I think Renault is better-placed than last year," Hulkenberg said. "The team moved closer to the midfield, for sure.

"Points will be difficult, as I think four teams are clearly in front. Then there's not much left. It's going to be difficult."

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov and Stefan Ehlen

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