Kevin Magnussen feels Renault will be able to bridge some of the performance deficit to its F1 rivals with the 2017 rule changes but is adamant he and the team must continue to push into the points this year.
The Danish driver notched up his and Renault's first points finish of the season, claiming an impressive seventh place in Russia after starting 17th on the grid, after struggling to match the pace of its rivals in recent races.
Magnussen says the French manufacturer had been well aware of the difficulty of its task returning to F1 as a fully-fledged factory squad this season but he is confident his team will keep pushing developments and gains on its 2016 challenger ahead of the rule tweaks next season.
“We knew it was going to be a tough start to the season, and it has been,” Magnussen said in the build-up to the Russian Grand Prix. “We have been close to points into races, and then in the last race we were far from points. We just have to look forward to the stuff that is coming later on in the season, and also next year and the year after.”
With the constraints on power unit part weights, dimensions and materials and boost pressure introduced next year plus the scrapping of the token system, Magnussen is confident it will step up Renault's form and close the gap to the dominant Mercedes engines.
Despite this, the former McLaren driver is confident Renault won't give up on its 2016 efforts and won't force itself into a compromise with attention turning to next year.
“It is a big mountain but I think it is where we expected it to be,” he said. “We know are Mercedes in the top three teams there are far in front, and it is a big gap to close. It is a massive challenge. But we are quite lucky that there is a rule change soon. But that is Formula One, and we have to take advantage of that. It is not a given that we will just catch up because of that, but it is going to help a little bit.
“We are still pushing with this car been trying to get the best of this car, but it is not a good idea to compromise next year for this car. But we are still doing everything we can without compromising for next year.”