Nico Hulkenberg feels Renault needs to ask itself some "serious questions" after a disappointing start to the 2019 Formula 1 season that has seen it perform "quite below expectations".

Renault entered the season looking to build on its fourth-place finish in last year's constructors' championship and push to bridge the gap to the leading three teams, only to take a step back further into the midfield.

A failure to score any points in either Germany or Hungary caused Renault to drop to P6 in the standings behind Toro Rosso, and the team has less than half as many points as McLaren, which currently leads the midfield battle to sit fourth in the championship.

Reflecting on his first half of the season, Hulkenberg said Renault needed to carefully review its struggles so far this season, giving a brutally honest assessment of its year so far.

"It’s a tough one. It’s obviously quite below our expectations and the targets," Hulkenberg said.

"I think we need to ask ourselves some serious questions and review a couple of things internally.

"There have been far more lows than highs, unfortunately, and not really satisfying."

Asked what those serious questions were, Hulkenberg said: "Just how we go about things and where we’ve come the last 18 months with the car, what we’ve been doing, and the effect it has, which is not that much of an effect.

"So we need to ask ourselves in the future so updates will bring some yield and bring us forward."

Hulkenberg himself sits P14 in the drivers' championship after picking up less than one-third of his points total at the same point in 2018. The German also trails teammate Daniel Ricciardo by five points.

Hulkenberg finished outside of the points in Hungary last weekend after an early power issue left him struggling through much of the race, but he was sceptical of his top-10 chances regardless.

"I had a power unit issue very early in the race. We lost the seamless shift a bit and lost quite a bit of lap time from power, from speed, that made it hard to stay in the race," Hulkenberg explained.

"The car was quite difficult to drive again today. The balance didn’t really feel together at all today, it was fighting the front axle, the rear axle. I didn’t have the pace. With these things we can’t expect too much."

 

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