Renault reportedly in talks with Sergio Perez for 2018

Following reports that Sergio Perez is in talks with Renault for a 2018 drive, Chris Soulsby looks at the rumors and the driver's options for 2018.

Following a report released by L’Equipe, it has been revealed that Force India’s Sergio Perez is supposedly in talks with the Renault F1 Team for a place at the team to partner Nico Hulkenberg and replace Jolyon Palmer.

Renault reportedly in talks with Sergio Perez for 2018

These reports come off the Monaco Grand Prix race weekend, which saw Sebastian Vettel claim his third win of 2017 and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer failing to deliver in the car once again for the Enstone team after being eliminated in the first part of qualifying and failing to finish in the points.

Coming from an impressive end of the 2016 Season, Jolyon Palmer’s services were retained by Renault for 2017, and so far, the British driver and 2014 GP2 Champion has had a very poor showing this season, being outclassed by Nico Hulkenberg in every aspect that is possible so far.

Palmer currently lies in 16th place in the Drivers Championship with not a single point to his name whereas Hulkenberg sits in 11th with 14 points.

For 2018, Sergio Perez’s options are open in F1 after limiting the extension of his 2017 Force India contract. According to F1i, Renault apparently wanted Perez to replace Palmer mid season, hiring his services straight away due to the Brit’s poor form in the first six races of this year. That being said however, it is unlikely that Force India will release their lead driver from his contract after only six races.

So far in 2017, Perez has had an incredible run for Force India, finishing in the points in the first five races of the season and having 15 consecutive points finishes in F1 although this record has since come to an end after Perez finished 13th in Monaco.

In recent years, Perez has been linked to a number of teams including Ferrari, and with Kimi Raikkonen nearing retirement age and it being undecided if the 2007 World Champion is going to be retained for 2018, Perez may well be in with a change of joining the Scuderia.

For this reason, it is hard to imagine that Perez will commit to his F1 future this early in 2017 with F1 driver market not yet shaping up for next year’s competition. As for Jolyon Palmer however, it is looking less and less likely that the Brit will be retained for 2018, or if he will complete the entire 2017 Season full stop. If Palmer was to be replaced by Renault however, the most likely candidate to replace him would be the team’s third driver, Sergey Sirotkin.
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