If he does not make it into the top 3 race finishers by Monza in September, the 29-year-old German will take over from Adrian Sutil as the most experienced F1 driver without a single podium.
But Hulkenberg has switched from Force India to the Renault works team for 2017 and he says he is happy with his move.
“Renault has proved in the past what they can do. They have become world champions several times so when the project was presented to me, it was a clear decision to take,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild.
But unlike Valtteri Bottas, who has been slotted straight into the reigning world champion’s seat at Mercedes, Hulkenberg says he knows he has to build up to a title challenge.
“What can I do? Turn this project into a success story,” he insisted.
“This year we can’t expect miracles, and anyone who does fails to understand this sport. But I hope that we can be at the front of the midfield this year, and from 2019 – in two or three years – I want to be ready for the title,” said Hulkenberg.
And he said he has no regrets about signing for Renault ‘too early’ rather than waiting for Nico Rosberg to announce his shock retirement from Mercedes shortly after the season.
“Too early? There were three months in between!” he exclaimed.
“I would lie if I said Mercedes would not be tempting, but the timing made it simply not realistic this time. I had signed a long-term agreement with Renault.
“I also want to build something here,” Hulkenberg added. “This is a huge challenge for me. I want to fight here and build it up rather than just go into an established team like Mercedes.
“I regret nothing,” he insisted.