Renault believes Formula 1's group of four big teams has now become five after its brilliant form in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Robert Kubica finished on the podium in Sunday's race, after emerging as a dark-horse contender for victory in an R30 that was well-suited to the tight Monte Carlo street circuit. Although the car still needs aerodynamic progress before it can challenge Red Bull Racing on pure pace at quicker tracks, team boss Eric Boullier reckons it is now a match for other front-running teams like Ferrari and Mercedes GP.
"I think we can reasonably expect a performance to be between Mercedes GP and Ferrari now," Boullier told AUTOSPORT. "We were expecting something good from Monaco because we knew the car was good on bumpy tracks and tight circuits like Monaco.
"We knew that Robert is a king in Monaco, and he loves it, so normally the package is good – and actually it was good. The only thing we were not expecting was to be that fast in the race and to be able to keep the pressure on Red Bull, plus being faster than McLaren, and Ferrari. That is the good news from the weekend from us."
Boullier thinks Kubica's chances of a win in Monaco were pretty much over after the start, when he slipped back behind Sebastian Vettel into third place.
"We needed clearly to have a very good start, and being let's say next to him, side by side into the first corner," he said. "This was our only expectation to have a chance to win the race."
However, with Kubica having shown the R30 is strong on Monaco-type street circuits, Boullier is optimistic that his team will have more chances to grab a victory later this year.
"There will be Budapest and Singapore – and maybe Valencia," he said. "We will see."