The Renault F1 Boss has warned Palmer to start delivering, but who do they have in mind to replace him if they slam the brakes on his career? Palmer hasn’t had the smoothest of times since his arrival in Formula 1. The most commonly used phrase in relation to his performance is that if he ‘didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all’. Some would say that he really doesn’t help himself, and in many respects, they’d be correct.
Even off the track, his blazé attitude has been noted and, whilst others wait with decreasing levels of patience for his results to come, he seems always to have an excuse or a look of confusion about their absence.
The figures do not look good. Although neither Renault driver set the track alight in 2016, Magnussen did manage to outscore his Jolyon 7:1, even with an upturn in fortunes toward the end of the season. This could be overlooked to a certain extent as Renault were adamant that it was a transition year while they re-establish themselves as a full works team.
So far in 2017, the story is no different and, in fact, there is an even starker contrast between the 2 sides of the garage. 7 races in and new teammate Hülkenberg has scored 18 points to Jolyon’s 0, finishing substantially further up the order in every race.
In fairness, before his Formula 1 career got underway, he competed in the GP2 championship for 4 years before claiming the title, making gradual improvement along the way. The trouble is, there just isn’t the time for that sort of development in Formula 1, particularly when he seems to have taken a backward step this year.
Following these observations, Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has issued the young Brit with something of a public cattle-prodding.
“No one is safe in F1. F1 is not an environment where anyone can say loudly, ‘I’m safe’. To a certain degree there are two questions. There is Jo, and there is a second driver. Right now my focus is on Jo. Jo has to deliver.
Asked about a potential failure to deliver, he said “What would happen then, I don’t want to elaborate on that, and even further, who would be stepping in, because that’s absolutely not the point for today.
“The fact is that Jo has a car which is a point-scoring car, and he has to enter into the points. Full stop.”
Abiteboul was willing to admit that Jolyon had an unlucky start to the season failing to have a clean weekend until Monaco. He was keen to point out, off the back of that, that even though the 11th place finish there was an improvement, the opportunity for points was definitely there, particularly with so many DNFs.
He has also stated that with Hülkenberg bringing home the results, he feels the team have become very reliant on him.
“We see that there is a very substantial gap between Nico and Jo in qualifying, and in the race. We are discussing on a regular basis obviously with Jo to see how he can improve.
“That process has to lead to a position where Jo will also make a contribution to the championship.”
It would seem that the clock is very much against him too “I would hope that by the summer break I would be able to leave on holiday in sixth position in the championship.”
So, unless Jolyon can pull his results out the gutter in short shrift, it looks like he may be shown the door.
With Sergei Sirotkin waiting in the wings and the hype increasing around Robert Kubica’s activity with the team, can Jolyon turn it around and who would replace him if he couldn’t?