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Williams impressed by Renault's 'phenomenal turnaround'

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Williams F1 deputy team principal Claire Williams has admitted that she's very impressed by how quickly Renault has turned around its works team's fortunes.

The former Lotus team was on the brink of financial collapse when the French manufacturer bought it at the end of 2016. Renault said that years of underfunding and staff lay-offs had left the squad almost a decade behind its rivals.

However, Williams says that she now sees the Enstone-based team as a major player in the 2018 championship.

"Renault have definitely done a pretty impressive job," Williams told the media last week. "I think they are probably fighting, going to be snapping the heels of the top three.

"That's a phenomenal turnaround," she added.

"To turn around a team in this sport takes a huge amount of hard work and effort," she added. "And they seem to have done a really good job."

Among the changes made by Renault are the hiring of two new drivers. Nico Hulkenberg joined the team at the start of 2017, while Carlos Sainz has since moved to the team in a one-year loan from Toro Rosso.

"To win, we will need a period of two or three years, but I trust Renault," Sainz told Antena 3 television.

"You have to bear in mind that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are one step ahead of everyone else," he pointed out. "Then there is McLaren and Renault.

"[Renault] are investing a lot of people and money to try to win as they did in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso."

Huilkenberg was similarly confident about the team having a bright future.

"The question is just how long it will take, I'm pretty sure about that," said the German driver. He said that the increased investment from Renault was making a big difference to the team's fortunes on track.

"That's what they have to do and that's what they are doing," he commented. "You need to invest and you need to work harder than the others to catch up.

"You don't get to the front in Formula 1 just by staying where you are, you need to make progress," he said. "You feel it eventually, yes, because it translates into performance.

"This is also what I wanted from the team and what I expect," he added. "We have a good vision together

"We will get closer to the front."

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