SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Renault should give up on this year's Formula One car and focus on designing a better one for 2017, the team's Danish driver Kevin Magnussen said on Thursday.

"As a driver what you care about... is winning and we are so far off that that in my mind I would be fine to switch focus completely, because we are clearly not going to win with this car," he said at the Austrian Grand Prix.

"The sooner we can start winning the happier I am and that’s what I want to focus on, so shifting focus as quick as possible I think is the best thing," he added.

Renault returned as a full constructor this season after taking over the failing Lotus team at the end of last year following lengthy negotiations.

The carmaker's chief executive Carlos Ghosn recognized in February that the former champions had a lot of ground to make up and set a target of podium appearances in the next three years.

The team have so far scored just six points in eight races, thanks to Magnussen's seventh place in Russia. British rookie team mate Jolyon Palmer has yet to finish in the top 10.

The engine has improved, however, and racing director Frederic Vasseur expects a stronger performance in Austria after three tough races in Monaco, Canada and Azerbaijan.

"We suffered in the slow corners in Canada and Baku. Austria should be better for a variety of reasons," he said in a preview of Sunday's race.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)