Renault's game plan in F1 calls for the French outfit to bridge the gap with McLaren and Red Bull by the end of this year, and race ahead in 2019.
The French manufacturer enjoyed steady progress last season, its second campaign since its return to Grand Prix racing as a works team in 2016.
Renault, which concluded its year P6 in the Constructors' standings, expects to move up at least another notch in the mid-field battle but Cyril Abiteboul hopes the team will be snapping at the heels of its customers come November.
"We know we have a substantial deficit to Red Bull in terms of chassis – in terms of aerodynamics and mechanical platform," the Renault Sport F1 boss told Motorsport.com.
"We know Red Bull very well and that's a fantastic benchmark. I think they have one of the best chassis if not the best chassis out there right now – we'll see what they come up with."
After a dismal period of under-performance with Honda, McLaren opens a new chapter with partner Renault, and Abiteboul is giving the Woking-based outfit the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its 2018 prospects.
"McLaren is a bit more of an unknown for us, because they had a different chassis and a different engine, different drivers, so it's very difficult to compare. It will be an interesting benchmark.
"I think in terms of overall capacities, in the course of this year we should be able to match them.
"Having said that, they are very stable organisations, which are very well structured, very well organised, very well funded.
"We are still a work in progress, we are still growing up and still in the process of building our own team.
"I think it's not before 2019 that we can be in a position to fully match them, even if I would like to see a very small gap between us and them in the process this year."