Jolyon Palmer, Renault, Suzuka, 2017

Palmer to leave Renault after Japanese GP

2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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Jolyon Palmer has announced he will step down from his Renault seat after tomorrow’s race.

“Tomorrow’s Japanese GP will be my last race for Renault,” Palmer revealed on social media following the Japanese Grand Prix qualifying session.

“With my grid penalty I’ll be starting near the back but I will be giving it my all as always. Thanks everyone for the support during the last two years, it means a lot.”

Palmer’s place at the team has been in doubt for much of the season. Palmer acknowledged the rumours during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend and said he would continue to race for the team until the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Instead he will lose his place with four races remaining.

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “I would like to thank Jolyon for his commitment to the team and his professionalism.”

“Since Renault’s return to Formula One, Jolyon has been highly dedicated in an evolving environment,” Abiteboul added. “He has shown great personal qualities and we wish him all the best in his future career.”

Renault has already confirmed Palmer will be replaced by Carlos Sainz Jnr next year. Palmer’s replacement for the next round of the championship at the Circuit of the Americas has not yet been confirmed.

Palmer made his F1 debut with Renault last year alongside Kevin Magnussen. He kept his place at Renault after Magnussen left to join Haas, but has usually been overshadowed by new team mate Nico Hulkenberg. However he took his best finish of the year at Singapore, with sixth.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 37 comments on “Palmer to leave Renault after Japanese GP”

    1. Woah.. who takes his spot. Sainz straight away? Williams should pay renault to give kubica a race weekend to evaluate!

    2. This doesn’t make much sense to me. Surely he’d want to try and drive to the end of the season, with no pressure, to try and show Williams that he’s capable, and not a risk like Kubica or Di Resta…
      Who will then fill in for him? Will Sainz go to Renault for the rest of the year, and Renault and Toro Rosso knew about this already, which is why they gave Gasly a few races, then they’ll reinstate Kvyat? So many questions…

      1. @hugh11 I think it does make sense. He knows he’ll be out of Renault for next year so the last few races don’t matter much anymore. So he’s just taking a few millions to get something out of it.

      2. Renault have confirmed that Sainz will be driving

        1. Excellent

      3. @hugh11 that would make the most sense, in my opinion. Presumably this decision had already been made by Palmer and Renault. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Renault made the decision but gave him the decency of being able to announce it.

      4. Paul Ortenburg
        7th October 2017, 14:04

        He doesn’t need to drive the last 4 races to show Williams what he could bring to the team. Just like at Renault, all he needs to do is show them his Dad’s bank statement.

      5. Why does anyone think that this is Palmer’s decision?

    3. Palmer has had a rough time at Renault. Can someone explain the internet hate and trolling that goes his way?
      I guest he was the last to know about his position.

      Does Carlos come in early to get “settled” early?
      Does Pascal go to Toro Rosso now or later?

      1. Pascal? I don’t think he will drive for STR be it this year or next.

      2. I don’t think Helmut Marko is too keen on having Pascal in STR. I read somewhere that Toto is pushing for it.

      3. Palmer has had a rough time at Renault. Can someone explain the internet hate and trolling that goes his way?

        I certainly don’t condone hate but it’s fair to say much of the widespread criticism thrown his way is justified.

        I guest he was the last to know about his position.

        We’re 16 races into the season and Jolyon is still to out-qualify his team-mate. I shouldn’t imagine it would have come as much of a surprise to him.

        1. @ninjenius, to be fair to him, there have been occasions, such as in the Belgian GP, where he looked very likely to outqualify Hulkenberg but was let down by reliability issues (he had a gearbox failure in Q3 when he’d been outpacing Hulkenberg up until that point).

          Whilst he is not the greatest of drivers, at the same time it has often felt this season as if Renault only put him in the car because they had to have a second driver, and they have only put the minimum amount of effort in to make the car run. They’ve made it clear that they want to build the team around Hulkenberg for the long term, whilst at the same time it’s been clear since last year that they didn’t really want Palmer to be in that seat – he stayed mainly because they couldn’t sign a replacement.

          This is a team that has a long history of treating their second drivers very badly – they’re probably the worst on the grid for that. Given that they seem to have decided before this season that they were going to sack Palmer, they seem to have decided not to bother trying to help a driver whom they would be getting rid of anyway – so I am not at all surprised that he has struggled against Hulkenberg.

    4. That’s quite sad. I’m no fan of Jolyon Palmer, he’s not good enough for F1 and never was, should not have retained his seat this year, and it really is sickening watching Sky try and make something out of him, but he’s a nice guy, seems like he tries hard, and to leave F1 like this is really a bit of a shame. Still, more room for real talent. Now I will be interested to see how Sainz fares against Hulk, who I consider good enough for a top 3 seat.

      1. Absolutely! Potential COTD.

      2. ‘Sickening?’ Really? No chance they were just trying to be kind and diplomatic? After all, they’re not the ones who hired him. Renault put some faith in him, gave him a last chance, and Sky just rolled with that. Why run a guy down who was already sealing his own fate? Would that be Sky’s job? Would that have been fair of them?

        1. Yeah, sickening. See, I would entirely agree with your remarks, if it were to count for every struggling driver. But Palmer gets the continual benefit of the doubt, but not Kvyat, not Ericcson, not any of the others. That is sickening, as it displays a clear bias. I hate bias from my sportscasters.

    5. Bring Kubica in!

      Because it wouldn’t make any difference in the constructors championship given the woeful form of Palmer.
      And this should provide as good a testing ground as any to assess if there’s still life left in the lightning that Kubica is.

      1. I would love that, but it wouldn’t happen. At this stage I think it would only be possible if Robert had some huge sponsor to back up such a proposition to Renault.

        Sainz has been already confirmed to race the Renault anyway.

      2. @sravan-pe Why should Renault do that when he is potentially of to Williams for next year, it really has no benefit for them anymore. Getting to know Sainz before 2018 makes much more sense for Renault.

    6. The timing is a bit weird but I think everyone agrees he doesn’t belong in f1

      Seems a pretty realistic and nice guy so he probably takes a few millions with him

    7. I didn’t see this coming at this point, LOL.

    8. He was never good enough to be in F1. The manner in which his exit was managed by Renault is pretty poor though.

      Anyways, will be interesting to see how Hulk stacks up against Sainz.

      Hopefully Jo will find a series that is more befitting of his talent.

    9. Amidst all this, seems like Gasly will miss the final round of Super Formula. Senseless to miss out on such opportunities. After all, they could have simply replaced Gasly with Galael for one race without disturbing Sainz’s transition to Renault. Its not like they are going to keep Renault at bay for long in the Constructor’s standings and they have lost out to Williams already.

      1. Yeh i think gasly should do that super formula round since he seems to have a guarenteed spot in f1 now anyone. Highly disrespectful to a race series thsst has let him prove hin self. He wont get points in the f1 race anyway.

      2. Yeah this surely means Kvyat is back in the Toro Rosso, because putting both Galael and Gasly in there makes no sense and is a very high risk.

        Nonetheless, if I were Kvyat, I’d put up my middle finger to Red Bull. Demoting him from RBR to STR last year, then making place for trying out Gasly and now asked back because they lack another experienced driver? It’s abusing Kvyat in the worst way possible.

        1. For sure Kvyat doesn’t deserve this treatment. Red Bull is toying with its drivers at STR. This actually takes away the weight of an F1 seat at STR. All the meaning, purpose and seriousness is lost. Now any new driver, signing with RBR or STR, including Gasly, will feel insecure. “i might be fired any minute” is a statement that they would constantly be telling themselves. Don’t think it will help in the long run.

          1. Hasn’t it always been this way? Buemi, Bourdais, Algesuari and Vergne to mention a few.
            All ‘released’ unceremoniously but three of them have done quite well and the fourth had to retire. Some of the others don’t seem to have suffered much (Vettel, Riccardo, Verstappen) and, after all, it is not a team that is bothered about a huge sack of money, which keeps many worse drivers in teams.
            If Sainz gets some decent points in the last few races, that will mean $$$ at the end of the season for Renault and probably more than it cost them to get rid of JP.

            1. mrfill It has, somewhat. However, never before has a Red Bull driver (that includes the STR team) been demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, never before has he then had to make place during a grand prix for an inexperienced driver and never before has a ‘released’ driver been called back.

              Hmm, I wonder why those 3 haven’t suffered much? Maybe it’s because they’re all WDC material? I don’t know, I could be completely wrong.

              In Red Bull’s defence, I do think some teams should let go of their drivers earlier instead of sticking with them due to all the wrong reasons. I also feel that pay drivers should be banned in a way that people are not just able to spend tens of millions to have a driver fill a seat. There’s nothing wrong with personal investments, even without a sponsor, just don’t make driver decisions on it.

    10. Pity. I will now need another personal fai^Hll-guy for next year. I think I’ll choose Grosjean, who inexplicably “lost” his car again in qualification.

      (PS. ;-) )

    11. Karma!

    12. I think Max’s Dad and Jolyon’s Dad need to launch an Indy Car Team. Palmer-Chilton & Sons Racing, Ltd.

    13. I’m sorry that it hasn’t worked out at Renault, but at least he did get a seat in an F1 team and has completed one full season as a driver, which is far more than many other equally talented drivers get. I was disappointed when he didn’t get a seat straight after winning his GP2 Championship, and was delighted when he did finally get a seat. I must admit that while I’m a bit sad that he is leaving, I do feel he has had ample opportunity to show he deserves his seat and that hasn’t happened. I don’t like to say this, but I do think his departure is justified.
      As a professional driver one does have to be critical of one’s own driving, and one needs to constantly try to improve, but I don’t get the impression of this when looking at his score sheet. Even though last year was a difficult year for Renault, everyone there knew they needed to raise their game. Renault didn’t buy the team to rank near the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship, they want to win it. Obviously they weren’t going to do that immediately, there are thousands of improvements that need to be made for that to happen, and one of those is how you drive the car. At the very least the one point he scored last year should have been a warning to him that he needed to improve his game, so one would have expected to have seen an immediate improvement from the start of this season, but, apart from this year’s Singapore GP, I can’t see that.
      He had a year as a test driver at the then Lotus team before getting his full time seat, which meant he had the opportunity to see how the World Champion Drivers like Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso operate, once he got a full time seat and to measure his own performance against theirs. Fernando Alonso scored 54 points in a car with a weaker and less reliable engine than what he drove. Yesterday Chris Horner said they get the precise GPS track of every car on the grid during practice (and presumably from Qualifying and the Race as well) and can overlay that over the track of their own cars. If so, one would expect Palmer to have done this as well to make sure he is driving his car in the correct style. He had the opportunity to talk to ex-F1 drivers who are part of the media to seek their advice on whether his performance was good enough of if he needed to raise his game.
      As I said, I’m sorry he is going, but equally there is someone out there who deserves the opportunity to try their hand at being an F1 driver, so I am happy for them. Someone left and Palmer was given the opportunity to show he deserved a full time seat, now he is leaving and someone else will have their chance to show they too deserve that opportunity.

    14. Well done, I recall how he was running his mouth last year after Baku about the radio rules and at the time I was thinking for a paid driver you are pretty arrogant. Unfortunately, money is not always enough and whatever reliability issue he has had, 0:16 in qualifying against his teammate who himself is very far from a great, tells it all.

    15. can`t help feeling a bit sorry for Palmer; he may be a paydriver, but considering hisF2 performance, he cannot be a dud. dud as in crashtor, or dud as in Stroll, just bloody hard luck. wish him the best.

      1. Crashtor is a race winning f1 driver… Palmer never even drove an impressive race.

        As said above, his prior attitude prevents me feeling badly for him…

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