Renault Sport F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship will be seen as its final building campaign for the French manufacturer before setting outright targets of challenging for F1 world titles.

Having purchased Lotus at the start of the 2016, Renault has undergone a restructuring and development programme across the team’s entire operations including modernising its Enstone headquarters and facilities while also increasing its staff numbers.

During Renault’s takeover of the team, Abiteboul outlined a long term aim of seeing the squad win F1 world titles again – with Renault’s last F1 world championship success coming with Fernando Alonso in 2006 – but underlined the need to temper expectations over a number of years.

Gearing up for its third F1 season in its current guise, Abiteboul has repeated this sentiment and is eager to see 2018 as the final year of its “construction phase” which began in 2016 to provide a base to “attack the top teams”.

“2017 was a year of progression and 2018 has to be the same, another year of progression, another year of construction,” Abiteboul said. “By the end of the year we want to say the construction phase is over, it was a three-year phase from 2016 to 2018, and now the next phase will be about attacking the top teams.

“We need to accept that we can’t be perfect everywhere and things take time but at the same time we have to show we are in the right trajectory.”

Abiteboul also feels its new engine supply deal with McLaren will aid its ultimate target and hopes it can crank up its efforts in challenging for F1 world titles in the future.

“It is a great responsibility but also a great opportunity as I anticipate we’ll be compared to McLaren but is it an opportunity to benchmark our car and drivers to McLaren and assess the progress of the organisation,” he said. “Frankly, working with the best is also an opportunity to work with the best.”

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