Robert Kubica has faith that Renault is still on its upward development curve, despite having lost ground to frontrunners Red Bull Racing and Ferrari in recent races.
The Pole played down talk before the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that he could stage a repeat of his strong performance from Monaco, even though the track characteristics should have been well-suited to his Renault. Kubica explained that his feelings were prompted by the fact that he thinks Renault is not at as high a performance level compared to the opposition as it was in Monaco back in May.
"Monaco was a long time ago," explained Kubica. "I think things are changing very quickly in F1. The best example was last weekend with Ferrari being very competitive, surprisingly competitive. So, as I say, things are changing very quickly in F1.
"I think we were in better timing in Monaco, we were in better shape compared to our competitors. It looks like now many teams catch up and they are more competitive. And also the Hungaroring is not exactly Monaco as a racetrack."
Kubica said he never expected Renault to have kept up its impressive early-season development pace, but he thinks for the long term the team still is on course to achieve its potential.
"It will be very difficult and nearly impossible to keep up such a rate of development I would say," he said. "And it is normal at teams that you have through the year up and downs. Sometimes you might discover more potential or more gain than you would be expecting.
"On some other occasions you might get less gain than you are expecting, but what is important is long term. I always say that even if you have new package or something, you have to wait three or four races to see how you are against your competitors. You might be in a different zone of development, but all in all I think that is why here it will be difficult to repeat Monaco, I would say nearly impossible, but this track will be better than Silverstone."
Kubica thinks Renault is also finally getting totally on top of its blown diffuser concept in Hungary, having recovered the loss of engine power that came from the repositioning of the exhausts.
"The team had spent quite a lot of time to develop it, and quite a lot of effort to make it work as best as we could so when we introduced it we felt quite ready for it," he said. "We were quite confident that it could give us an advantage, but of course it is quite a complicated thing. If you introduce it during the season there might be some disadvantage, as we had.
"So in the beginning step-by-step we tried to eliminate as much as we can the disadvantage in order to make it work at 100 percent. We have here a reasonable step of improvement, and one big disadvantage of the blowing floor which we had since Valencia is gone. I think it will give us a better performance than in recent races."
Renault is expected to introduce its F-duct for the next race in Belgium, which should give the team a boost in terms of straight-line speed.