Renault first entered Formula 1 in 1977 and faced a lot of adversity to start with, as you may expect. They didn't finish a race in 1977, and didn't win a point until late on in 1978. In 1979 they claimed their first win at their home Grand Prix in France thanks to Jean-Pierre Jabouille. While Renault would begin to compete more consistently at the front of the grid they withdrew as a constructor after the 1985 season, though they remained as an engine supplier. They provided the power for every Constructors' Champion from 1992 to '97, and all but one Drivers' Champion. In 2000 they re-entered as a constructor, buying up the Benetton team. They were the team that eventually freed F1 from the grip of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, leading Fernando Alonso to the 2005 and 2006 Drivers' World Championship.
They have been in F1 ever since, though it flip-flopped to and fro with Lotus and were also the engine suppliers for Red Bull's four-year run of dominance. In 2018 Renault find themselves firmly in the middle of the pack. Can you take them back to the top of the grid and win Renault a third World Championship?
In F1 2018 Renault expect you to "Develop And Compete". In simple terms this means they want to bridge the gap to the big three teams and begin to win races and challenge for the title. This is a pretty reasonable expectaction, because isn't that what you want to do anyway? Renault have quite the gulf in performance to surmount, but they have their noses in front of the rest of the midfield, if only by a hair.
The team also expects you display sportsmanship. This means don't show off too much in interviews, be respectful of rivals, and praise the team whenever you can.
Renault start from a solid foundation in F1 2018. They sit fourth in the Vehicle Performance Comparison table, which is a very nice place to be as it suggests consistent points finishes, and maybe the odd podium if you get lucky with a safety car and failures from the big three.
Renault's advantage over the rest of the field comes from their chassis and aero dynamic departments which both rank as a clear fourth in the paddock. They drop back to the midfield due to a lack of power compared to the Mercedes and Ferrari customer teams. They are just 8th in power at the start of career mode, and this is where you should begin your investment.
You get 1,850 resource points when you start your career with, which is enough to immediately purchase the efficiency modifier and first upgrade in the powertrain department. After you complete your practice programs in Australia you can add the quality control upgrade too just to decrease the chance of the upgrade failing.
This powertrain upgrade will be ready in time for the Chinese Grand Prix, providing you with a nice enhancement for the long back straight as well as the power-hungry Baku circuit the week after.
Your quickest route to a major upgrade in in the chassis and aero departments. There you can soon find yourself a front or rear downforce upgrade or a weight reduction/redistribution one. These are all good parts to improve, and after your first powertrain upgrade you should set your sights one major upgrade in each department to make the car more driveable.
The ultimate upgrades are all covered by the "fog of war" at the start of career mode, but as you can see from the fully unlocked tree below, the quickest path to an ultimate upgrade is in the powertrain department. This is a fuel consumption upgrade, and once applied will allow you to drastically under-fuel the car to start races and run rich revs for far longer. This part can be obtained in the first season if you invest heavily in the powertrain department, but it requires some care and attention to your pre-race settings and management during the race to really exploit.
Renault are a solid midfield team at the start of F1 2018, but it won't take too long to bridge the gap to the top three if you are consistent with your racing and dedicated with the practice programs. So long as you have balanced the AI difficulty correctly this should make a Renault career mode challenging still. The big teams will continue to develop too, while the likes of Haas and Force India will make strides to catch you. However, team development is weighted in favour of the player this year so it will still be relatively easy to push Renault up the grid and onto the podium.
You should be aiming to take down the Drivers' and Constructors' championship by season 2, and there is a chance of taking race wins in the second half of season 1, especially at places like Monza where the AI are not as strong as the player. Renault are a team that offer some hard work for the player, but also a driveable car that won't leave you hurling your controller across the room after five laps, and that makes them a perfect team to start a career mode with.