Champions Renault cannot expect to win titles every year but neither will they stay in Formula One long-term as mere participants, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said on Sunday.
"What is important for me is the trend," he told reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix, won by Renault last year with Fernando Alonso before the Spaniard left for McLaren.
"If I am in a situation where we are number four or number five and we have no hope to do better, be part of the show or win again, then I say why are we participating?
"We are not going to be here to say 'me too, I am also in Formula One'. We don't want to do that. But ups and downs, we are used to it."
Alonso secured pole again this year but Renault are struggling, fourth overall and without a podium finish in four races that have brought them just 11 points compared to McLaren's 58.
Renault's best result has been Italian Giancarlo Fisichella's fifth in Australia in the March season-opener after the team won eight times in 2006.
"I am very confident that the team are going to do a much better second half of the season than the first. And again we want to continue to be part of the show at the best level," continued Ghosn.
"We are here to win. To perform. But I cannot reasonably ask (team boss) Flavio (Briatore) to win every year. I am asking him but at the same time, I cannot expect that every single year the team is going to be number one.
"But you have to be always part of the show. You have to be always part of the two or three teams that can make it for the year. That is very important."
Renault have suffered after switching from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres, following the former's withdrawal, and Ghosn said he knew the start of the season would be difficult as a result.
"There is another reason," he added. "We put all our resources to decide the championship last year. We won, we prevailed. The small price to pay is maybe we did not dedicate as much attention to the next season."
Briatore said last year's 'mass damper' controversy, with Renault forced to ditch their performance-enhancing suspension system at a key point in the season, played a part in the drop-off.
"Renault is the only (top) team with one wind tunnel," the Italian declared. "Last year, to make races more interesting, there was some handicap for Renault with the mass damper.
"With this handicap we needed to develop the car right to the last race. We didn't want to lose the 2006 championship. So we compromised."