(GMM) Renault's executive director Marcin Budkowski has admitted the French works team will not beat Mercedes in 2020.
In Austria, Daniel Ricciardo lamented a poor showing for Renault, despite significant recent engine and car upgrades.
But Budkowski, who caused a stir last year with his move from the FIA, says he is "delighted" to be wearing yellow.
"The project remains very promising," he told France's Auto Hebdo.
"I admit that the beginning of the year was more difficult than I expected, but when I signed, I also did not expect it to be simple.
"Sport is brutal," Budkowski added.
At the same time, he admits openly that Renault is still trying to get up to speed with its own expectations.
"In my eyes, we are a team that is performing below its potential," said the Pole.
"We have to be reasonable — we are not going to beat Mercedes next year because they enjoy a huge competitive advantage over us. We do not have the resources to catch up and overtake them.
"We have the potential to do it in the future, but we need to build momentum," Budkowski added. "We must first box above our class.
"I want us to look at each other and say 'With what we have, we're doing a lot of good work'. Today, that is not really the case.
"But when we do that, we create momentum that attracts new people, new sponsors, and so on. After that will be the time of looking at the top three.
"We are building for 2021," Budkowski said.