Nico Hulkenberg labeled his first season with Renault as "mostly satisfying", but the German driver acknowledged that his team was still very much a work in progress.
Hulkenberg joined Renault from Force India at the end of last year fully aware of the French outfit's limited capabilities as it builds its foundation for the future.
The 30-year-old secured eight top-ten finished this season, the last of which enabled Renault to conclude its campaign in Abu Dhabi sixth in the Constructor's standings, a position which yielded a hefty financial bonus.
"It was really great to wrap up the season with a result that made us all go home with our heads held high," the Hulk said in an interview with Formula1.com.
"In that respect Abu Dhabi was a very welcome final curtain on 2017, as it showed that we are definitely moving in the right direction – even though I don’t have any illusions that the success we are looking for will come overnight.
"In reality I would give it another 12 to 18 months. The aim is to fight at the top. That has not changed. "
Looking back on 2017, the 2015 Le Mans winner rates his season with a positive note, but it's still all about taking the appropriate steps for the future.
"We know that we still have homework to do in certain areas, but the signs are all super encouraging, as pace-wise we are getting better and better.
"Actually I am really proud of how we progressed, looking back to where we started at the beginning of the season."
Once again, Abu Dhabi was likely the highlight of Renault's season as the stakes were high,and team and driver accomplished exactly what they set out to achieve at Yas Marina.
"It will do a lot for the morale, because finishing with a strong result helps everybody. And, of course, more funds always help – no doubt about that!
"I would say that we had a good package the whole second part of the season, though we had so many issues that cost us so many good results and so many points along the way," adds Hulkenberg.
"So yes, Abu Dhabi was a bit like recovering some of what we had lost and finishing on a positive note.