Jolyon Palmer could save his seat at Renault for 2018, providing that he starts scoring points in the second half of the 2017 Season according to the team’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
Jolyon Palmer could still save his seat at Renault
Palmer made his Formula 1 debut last year for Renault and frequently struggled out on track, being outpaced by Kevin Magnussen in the first half of the season. After the summer break however, Palmer returned with an improved showing of form which allowed him to secure his first F1 point at the Malaysian Grand Prix and retain his seat for 2017.
In 2017 however, the Brit has struggled again despite having a more competitive car. This leaves him as one of two full-time drivers on the grid this year that have failed to secure a point in the first half of the season (the other being Marcus Ericsson). In comparison to Nico Hulkenberg, Palmer has been thoroughly disappointing with his team mate racking up 26 points so far this season and being more on the limit out on track.
Palmer’s poor showing in performance resulted in a lot of speculation in the paddock that he may be replaced halfway through 2017, however, Cyril Abiteboul of Renault revealed that it is not yet game over for the 26 year old.
“Frankly, if he manages to turn around the situation, which he did last year, we are completely open to a future between the team and Jo for one more season,” said Abiteboul when talking to Autosport. “Stability would be good for the team. That’s also what we wanted last year – to have Nico changing we wanted not to have to change two drivers. Things could go his [Palmer’s] way, but at the end of the day that’s in his hands.
“He knows that right now he’s on a one-year contract and completely understands the team has to assess its options for the future. We’ve seen very good things with Jo, both during the winter tests, during the season, during a session,” he added. “He’s capable of extracting really good pace from the car, doing a very good job, providing accurate feedback, being very committed to the team.”
Abiteboul did also however, reflect on the mistakes that Palmer has made this season: “At the same time there’s been a mix of mistakes, missed opportunities – clearly not assisted by circumstance with reliability that has been clearly weaker on his side of the garage,” he said. “Very rapidly what this sort of mix has created is, I believe, a lack of confidence – a lack of confidence in himself, a lack of ability to put his head down in the difficulties that will encounter any driver in a race weekend or in a season. And that lack of confidence has started to kick off in a sort of snowball and has led to the situation we have now.
“I’m really trying to protect Jo and to confirm to Jo almost on a daily basis my and the team’s commitment and full support – in order to recreate the confidence in himself and in the team. It’s not the job of one day,” he added.
For 2018, Palmer’s seat at Renault is being targeted by a number of drivers including Robert Kubica, Oliver Rowland and Nicholas Latifi. Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso have also been linked to a switch to the team, meaning that Palmer faces stiff opposition on the grid to stay next season.
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