Jolyon Palmer has admitted that he thought his maiden campaign would be tougher, despite collecting only a single point.
Renault returned to the sport this year fielding Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, but struggled to make any impact with the only real significant result being a seventh place finish at Russia.
Palmer however was bracing for a tough season due to the lack of preparation the team had.
"I thought it would be harder than it was in terms of car performance, even though that sounds strange because we've been struggling," Palmer said.
"We both got into Q2 in [the first race of the season] Australia and I never thought that would be possible at the start of the year."
"I'd been around the team all winter and there was nothing going on in the factory in December, it was a ghost town."
"It was only once the deal got done that we could start building the car, and in F1 if you start on the back foot it's difficult to recover in a year."
Palmer praised the progress that Renault made throughout the season, going from backmarkers to fighting with the midfield teams.
"To be in a position where we could fight with McLaren, Haas and Toro Rosso regularly over the second half of the year showed the progress," he said.
"In the first half of the season, we were miles behind all of them."
Palmer secured his point at the Malaysian Grand Prix and despite doubts about his future, he was kept on for 2017 as Magnussen makes a move to Haas.
The Briton will be paired with Nico Hulkenberg next year in what they are hoping will be a more successful season than last.
"This is what I wanted at the start of the year - to still be with Renault in 2017 and make sure we finished ninth in the constructors' championship," said Palmer.
"This is the team that can be going places and fighting for wins and titles in the future so it's an opportunity for me."
"I've just got to keep proving myself so they keep their faith in me and then I'll be in a great position to achieve what I want to in F1."