Jolyon Palmer might continue to drive for Renault in 2018 if he “turns around” this season according to the Renault F 1 team.
The first 11 races of the season saw Palmer struggling and failing to score even a single point. In contrast, his fellow driver Nico Hulkenberg made Q3 six times, scored 26 points and sits at the 10th spot in the drivers’ championship.
Palmer’s current contract ends at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, Renault did a thorough assessment of Robert Kubica during the In-season testing in Hungary to see in what way Kubica can come back to Formula 1, a move that raises questions about Palmer’s future in Renault.
Cyril Abiteboul, Team managing director reassured Palmer about his immediate future in Renault while also admitting that they are assessing Kubica for a potential race seat next year.
Talking to Motorsport Abiteboul said, “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,”
“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.”
Palmer has shown that he can perform well but a lack of confidence coupled with poor reliability has led to many driving errors Abiteboul said.
“We’ve seen very good things with Jo, both during the winter tests, during the season, during a session,” Abiteboul added.
“He’s capable of extracting really good pace from the car, doing a very good job, providing accurate feedback, being very committed into the team.
“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.
“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.”