Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he is unlikely to score even podiums in 2019.
An alarming twist for Ricciardo is that Honda, Red Bull's next engine supplier, is apparently speeding ahead of Renault in the horse power stakes.
Renault, on the other hand, is struggling.
"At the beginning of the season, we were clearly fourth best," said Nico Hulkenberg, Ricciardo's 2019 teammate, in Japan. "But that has changed."
"We have developed, but others have made more progress, not just on the engine side but the chassis side. We have not lived up to our status as a factory team," the German admitted.
Ricciardo is also monitoring Honda's progress relative to the current Renault struggle.
"We'll see," he said in Japan.
"Power is one thing, but there's also reliability and I think that's why Renault haven't used the updated version yet.
"We will see how much power Red Bull have with Honda next year. I don't wish problems on them, but I certainly hope that Renault are better," Ricciardo added.
However, he said he knows it could be at least a year before the podium is in sight.
"I'm a realist and I understand that the chance of podiums is small," said Ricciardo.
At the same time, Red Bull is now starting to turn its back on Ricciardo, for instance by ending his access to the simulator.
"If I do badly at all the remaining five tracks, I will definitely blame the simulator," he laughed.