Renault team principal Frederic Vasseur expects the Enstone outfit to remain in the midfield next year.

With major rule changes coming for 2017, it’s a great chance for teams to move up the pecking order and actually give Mercedes a half-decent fight.

Renault team principal Frederic Vasseur though is already being rather pessimistic (or just realistic?) about his team’s chances for the new F1 season.

“2017 is a fantastic opportunity for us to take a significant step forward for many reasons,” he said. “The change of regulations could mean quite a shakeup in the order of relative competitiveness, plus the fruits of our expansion will be ramping up. We made an early start to developing next year’s car with this in mind.

“Whilst 2017 should see a good step forward, we are realistic in our expectations as we know that we won’t leapfrog the midfield in a single season. However we are all pushing for a big improvement in competitiveness.”

Renault scored just 8 points all year
Renault scored just 8 points in 2016

“Next year promises a fantastic show. The cars will be faster and more aggressive-looking. The tires will be wide. The action will be tremendously exciting. We certainly expect to be in the thick of it from the very beginning.”

Jolyon Palmer will be joined by Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg next year, who’ll certainly be hoping for more than midfield running in the future having made the switch to Renault from Force India in the pursuit of race victories.