Renault team owner Gerard Lopez says he is not ruling out winning a race this year after a strong start to the season.
Vitaly Petrov finished in third place in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, while Nick Heidfeld was also on the podium in Malaysia last weekend. Although Lopez concedes that beating Red Bull will be very difficult, he said Renault could spring a surprise on tracks like Monaco or the Hungaroring.
"The plan this year includes two stages: the first was to try to get consistently on the podium, while the second is to get at least one win," Lopez told Gazzetta dello Sport. "The first target has been reached, but the other one also depends on Red Bull, who at the moment is far ahead. However, on particular tracks like Monaco or the Hungaroring perhaps we might be able to play for it."
Lopez believes the decision to go for a radical car design has paid off, with the team's forward-facing exhaust being one of the biggest innovations of the year.
"Our choice has come a long way, from last year's Monaco GP," Lopez said. "That weekend Eric Boullier and I summoned technical director James Allison and specifically asked him to explore new avenues, because that was the only way to try to change the pecking order. Designing a conventional car and then copying other teams' best parts wouldn't have taken us anywhere."
Lopez also said the team is not thinking about a possible return date for Robert Kubica following his accident.
"At the moment, neither us nor Robert must think about these things," he said. "We are extremely happy with Heidfeld: his character is very different from Kubica's, but he has set inside the team very well. Robert at the moment must keep his focus on his recovery only."