Robert Kubica has warned his Renault team must stay realistic despite its strong start to the 2010 season.
Renault has managed 46 points in the first four races of the year, and is currently in fifth in the standings after some very promising performances, including a podium finish in Australia. But Kubica is aware that the French squad will need a very big step to be able to fight on top.
"The whole team is working hard and it's good that we're making the most of our opportunities in the races," said Kubica. "But it's important to remain realistic because we still need some big steps to be at the front of the grid and fighting consistently with Red Bull and McLaren in normal conditions.
"The next race in Barcelona will be another big test for us because the return to Europe is usually a turning point in the season with many teams planning big upgrades to their cars.
The Pole, however, insists there are a lot of reasons to be encouraged following the first races of the season.
"I think we should take a lot of positives from the first four races. If you had said to me at the start of the season, or even after Bahrain, that I would have scored 40 points and three top-five finishes, I would have been more than happy. However, at the same time, there has still been some frustration, especially in Shanghai where the safety car in the middle of the race definitely cost me a podium. But you have to accept that this is part of racing. Sometimes the luck goes your way and sometimes against you."
Chief race engineer Alan Permane also says the first part of the season has been positive, and admits the team has perhaps scored more points than expected.
"I think it's been a very encouraging start to the year and we've definitely maximized all the opportunities that have come our way, which is very important," he said. "We know that our outright pace is still behind the four fastest teams, but with our strategy from the pit wall and the performances of Robert and Vitaly, we have come away with more points than we might have expected."