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Nico Hulkenberg wants 'big step' from Renault F1 team for 2019

Nico Hulkenberg Renault Abu Dhabi GP 2018

Nico Hulkenberg says Renault has to aim to be "a big step" closer to Formula 1's top three teams for the 2019 season given its factory status.

Although Renault ended this season as best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, it never showed the pace to ever realistically challenge the trio for positions.

Hulkenberg said "we have to" take a significant leap forward in 2019 - especially with the opportunities afforded by the big aero regulation change.

"But it's always really hard - it's all speculation," he added. "We know what we do and I know it sounds not bad, but we're in the darkness as to what the others find.

"Obviously the new front wing is kind of a soft reset for next year, as it's quite different for the cars.

"So it's really hard to gauge, but of course that's where need to go, what we need to aim at.

"We need to eat a lot of the gap away and eat into it. As a factory team, we need to aim at making a big step."

Nico Hulkenberg

While Hulkenberg is happy about the amount of progress that Renault has made since it returned to F1 as a works team in 2016, he thinks there remain aspects that can be improved.

"I think we've made a lot of good progress in a lot of areas, especially in team structure and putting the team in the right place to grow and to build in the next two years," he explained.

"But on the technical side, development side - just on the car - this year was not quite to our ambitions and what we were looking for. So that's something we have to work on and get better at next year.

"But I think overall: last year P6, now P4 - that's a healthy and good development."

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