Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul has outlined the French manufacturer’s targets for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign during the launch of its R.S.18 car as it heads into year three of its return as a fully-fledged factory squad.

After finishing in sixth place in the 2017 F1 world constructors’ championship, having enjoyed a remarkable step in performance during the second half of the year, Renault is certain it produced the fourth-fastest car that year only behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

On Renault’s return as a factory team at the start of 2016 it outlined a long-term goal of producing a title-contending squad and Renault Sport Racing managing director Abiteboul is confident of retaining the team’s momentum into the new F1 season to reach that target over the next two seasons.

While 2018’s overall target is to continue improving every aspect to its F1 efforts, Abiteboul has outlined closing the gap to the leading teams as a key indicator of success for the new season.

“Our headline target is to show continued progression through results,” Abiteboul said. “We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard; power unit, chassis, operations, drivers.

“Everything must improve and we must continue to grow. We want to demonstrate this in many different ways, from the teams we will be directly racing against, to the gap to the leaders, including also our fan base and the respect that our team will inspire in our way we behave on and off track.”

Abiteboul is excited by Renault’s 2018 driver line-up of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, with the Spanish driver taken on loan from Red Bull, and is eager for the pair to continue their progress from the end of last year.

“We have two very talented and ambitious drivers,” he said. “Last year Nico gave us exactly what we needed with his experience, knowledge and ability to lead both on and off track.

“Carlos joined us at the end of the season and he brought something fresh, and he scored points to help us in the Constructors’ battle. Without that we wouldn’t have finished where we finished.”

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