Frederic Vasseur says the priority for Renault this season will be to “build up a strong team” and a base for the 2017 and beyond.
Renault will be back as a full works outfit this year having re-purchased the Lotus F1 Team over the winter, the official announcement coming just days before Christmas after months of protracted negotiations.
Vasseur, who was officially confirmed as sporting director last week, added that it will probably take five years or so before Renault is in a position to match the titles it achieved in 2005 and 2006.
“We have to take time to be a competitive team,” Vasseur confirmed. “We had a tough year last year, but even at the end they were not far in terms of performance and in Spa they were on the podium. The basics are there and we have to take care now to build up a new team.
“If you have a look in the past, from the cycle of Red Bull and Ferrari, they took five years to be champion. I think it is a normal cycle.”
Asked what will be considered a success this season for Renault, Vasseur insisted the position in the Constructors' Championship at the end of the year is not something that really concerns them.
“It is not important in terms of ranking. We know the situation and we only took on the company on the 19th of December, so the purpose of me is not to say P9, P7 or P5, but the first objective is to build up a strong team and build up a base from the next seasons,” he underlined.
Despite that, however, Vasseur rejected suggestions 2016 will be a 'transitional year' for the French firm.
“I don't like the word 'transition'. In France it is not a good reputation in the past. We had transition, transition and transition… and that is not the right way to do it because it will be difficult to deliver good results this year, but we have to keep people under pressure,” he explained.
“You can't be satisfied with 17th or 18th, you have to keep everybody under pressure, the guy doing the pit-stop, the mechanics, the reliability, the chassis… we have to push like hell it doesn't matter the performance.
“In terms of strategy, it is a bit different, because we have to decide at one stage whether we are pushing more for 2016 or 2017 due to the change in regulations for next year, but the spirit of the team has to be the same.”
Pressed on how long it will take to get back to challenging at the front, he replied: “I will listen to the chief and follow the road map of the chief. We have to be ready for the podium in the third season and win in the fifth.”