Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul claims the early signing of Carlos Sainz for the remainder of the 2017 season is about the long-term picture for his team.

The French manufacturer is locked in a battle for fifth place in the constructors’ championship with Williams, Haas and Toro Rosso, however, Abiteboul is more concerned with meeting the team’s targets of fighting for wins and titles by 2020.

“We are in a situation where we are really against the clock if we want to meet our ambition and our target of being almost at the highest level by 2020,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“There is no time to lose. And we need to fast track in every possible way.

“With 2020 in mind, 2019 in mind, we’ve done this move. It’s not just for grabbing a couple of points in the championship, it’s much more the bigger picture and a longer-term plan that played into this decision.

“Whatever we do this year, he will know the team, so all the acclimatisation to the team and to the car, that will be done, so we don’t have that collective excuse next year.”

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Sainz also believes the early transfer to his new team will be beneficial to himself and the team. He is also aware of the challenge facing him as he prepares to go up against the experienced Nico Hulkenberg in a car he has never sat in.

“My target is to be on the pace as quickly as possible, but it doesn’t come for free,” the Spaniard added. It’s going to be difficult because [Hulkenberg] has been driving a car for 16 races that I haven’t driven.

“I would like to adapt as soon as possible but I am convinced it will take a bit of time. There will be a lot of hard work, analysis, understanding with the engineers how to drive the car, and if it happens, it happens.”