Dec.28 (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg thinks 2017 could be a second consecutive tough campaign for the Renault works team.
The German is switching to the carmaker's Enstone based team from Force India, which finished fourth in the 2016 constructors' championship.
Renault, on the other hand, finished just ninth this year, off the back of predecessor Lotus' near-collapse of 2015.
"I think next year is still a build-up year," Hulkenberg is quoted by the Daily Express newspaper.
"I hope that next year it is a little bit better already, but I don't expect them to be inside the top six straight away. Even the top ten is probably going to be challenging," he added.
Even if 2017 is bad, though, 29-year-old Hulkenberg sounds more optimistic about Renault's future.
"These things take time, to build the infrastructure back up, get good people on board and develop the car," he said.