Chief Technical officer at Renault Bob Bell says that the arrival of Nico Hulkenberg will bring direction to the team.
Renault had a disappointing season in 2016 bringing home only eight championship points.
Renault brought in Hulkenberg, who will effectively replace Kevin Magnussen who is joining Haas for the 2017 season.
"Nico will bring a very clear sense of direction in terms of where we need to take the car from a driver's perspective," Bell told Autosport.
"He's not going to tell us what shape to make the front wing but he'll be very clear about what we need to do to, what characteristics from the driver's perspective the car needs.
"We're moving to different tyres next year and to have someone of his experience will very much help us deal with that transition. His experience will help with how to get the best out of them and how to manage.
"So those are two areas where he could play a really critical role. And of course he'll be a focal point for the team to help motivate everybody and pull everybody forward."
Bell said it is the right time to bring in an experienced driver as F1 goes under a regulation change.
"It probably wouldn't have been all that valuable in 2016 to be honest," he said.
"But this year as we take another step forward, we're now into the territory where we need an experienced driver, one of his calibre to help us get the most out of that step we will take.
"He will help really ground us in terms of our understanding of where we are and what we need to do to move forward.
"He's going to be a very key element in the season for us."