F1 Winter Break
Renault F1 admits Palmer’s days are numbered, so who would replace him?
Posted By: Editor   |  19 Jun 2017   |  2:51 pm GMT  |  132 comments

After a difficult start to the Formula 1 season, Jolyon Palmer has been warned by Renault that his seat is not safe and a replacement may already be lined up for the Briton.

26-year-old Palmer has yet to score a point in 2017 – his last was earned in Malaysia last year – while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg has taken all of Renault’s 18 points in his first season with Renault.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul recently told Autosport that “No one is safe in F1” when asked about Palmer’s performance in his second season with Renault.

“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.

“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 points-scoring car, and he has to enter into the points. Full stop.

“F1 is not an environment where anyone can say loudly, ‘I’m safe.’

“Right now I feel that it’s a bit almost unfair to Nico, who has to do a lot,” he said. “The team is clearly very dependent on [Hulkenberg].”

“What puts pressure on is not putting in good performances,” acknowledged Palmer in Canada.

“I am aware that the start of the year has been pretty disappointing. I am working hard and I am ready to turn it around.

“In terms of the rumours there have been rumours since my third ever race in F1 so it is nothing new for me.

“Of course, the way to stop it is to do well on track.

“It’s been a tough start to the year, there’s been some positives recently even if it doesn’t necessarily show on the results sheet,” he said.

Last year, Renault let Kevin Magnussen join Haas, retaining Palmer and signing Hulkenberg. There was talk of the team considering Esteban Ocon, the then-GP3 champion who is now scoring points at Force India.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr was also touted to join Renault, but he chose to remain at the Red Bull sister team instead in 2016.

If the outfit is to replace Palmer, who, there are a few possible candidates in focus for next season.

Sergey Sirotkin 

Russian Sirotkin is already a Renault F1 test and reserve driver with participation in simulator work and practice sessions in Russia and Spain this season.

The 21-year-old competed in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing in their LMP2 car and finished third in the 2016 GP2 (now F2) championship behind Ferrari development driver Antonio Giovinazzi and Red Bull reserve and champion Pierre Gasly.

Sirotkin has a clear ambition to gain a 2018 seat somewhere, and his promising single-seater form could help that.

But, with limited practice time for Renault and a lack of extensive race experience in 2017 so far, Renault may not want to risk taking a rookie in 2018 to compete in an already tough midfield battle.

There has been little speculation over Sirotkin’s future, which may be a sign in itself, but more significantly Renault stepped up his role for 2017 by giving him ‘third driver’ status.

“I try not to react to or talk about rumours,” Sirotkin said to Russian outlet Championat.

“Unfortunately Jolyon has not been able to show the results the machine is capable of, but he is also working hard and trying to make progress.

“So it would be bad for him if I get involved in any political games. We do our job, and I think the team is able to see the whole situation for itself.”

Sebastien Buemi 

Current Formula E championship leader, 28-year-old Renault e.Dams driver Buemi, has an extensive and impressive motorsport CV.

Buemi won the electric championship in 2015 and competed in Toyota’s LMP1 entry at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing ninth overall. The Frenchman has focused on endurance racing as well as FE this season, but his single-seater credentials are still growing.

Christian Horner said to Auto Motor und Sport in 2016 that Buemi would be taking part in further test sessions for Red Bull and Pirelli as well. The Red Bull Team Principal recommended Renault sign him last year.

“Buemi would be the ideal man for the team,” said Horner.

“He is fast, hardworking, has technical understanding and experience. You can call him at 3 in the morning, and he sits down in the simulator.”

The only obstacle is Buemi’s recent contract extension with Renault e.Dams, an obligation which keeps him with the FE team until 2019.

Robert Kubica 

Pole Kubica put his first miles down in an F1 car since 2011 this year, having tested a 2012 Lotus-Renault at Valencia.

The 32-year-old tested a GP3 car and a Formula E machine before making his shock F1 return, but Renault told Sky Sports that the F1 outing was a “one-off”, while Kubica said he wanted a ‘proper comeback’.

“I had very good feelings straight away in the car and I had very good feeling from a fitness point of view,” said Kubica.

“Lately I have spent an awful lot of time and an awful lot of effort trying to prepare the best I can in case I will have the opportunity to drive an F1 car and I had a great day.”

“To know I can drive the car and I can drive the car on good pace and I can drive the car for an entire grand prix distance is something which makes me happy and proud.

“Once I have done this test I would like to test more. It doesn’t depend only on my side, but I will keep working and hopefully one day I will have a chance to go forward and step-by-step maybe have a proper comeback.”

Abiteboul downplayed the “speculation and rumours” to Autosport, however.

“I think in this present case we need to be a little bit careful, because we’re talking about an individual that we all love, with a fantastic image, and who has suffered a very difficult situation from a personal perspective.

“So I think I would ask on this occasion everyone to be a little bit careful. Yes, we have done that test, but we don’t want to create expectations in anyone’s mind, including Robert himself.

“At some point we’ll have to discuss our future line-up, that’s public information. We have a long-term contract with Nico, and a contract for 2017, and all of 2017, with Jolyon.

“But at some point we will have to review options. If by then, Robert becomes an option, we can have a look. As we speak, he’s not on the list.”

Have your say in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Sorry for Palmer in some way, but this is overdue. I'd sit any of these in the car instead. The lack of points will be really expensive in the end, so I guess Buemi from this short list. No clue, why JE Vergne is not back into consideration.

BTW, I am really shocked why Vandoorne is not on this sort-of-black list along with Palmer and Stroll. So little about questioning him while he's being slaughtered by FA. I guess, he has to thank Honda for 'stealing the headlines'. (Though, also FA massacred Kimi, and he's still unexplicably hanging around at Ferrari 🙂 ).


Alonso is going full throttle in qualimode during the entire race 😉


In Alonso's career the only drivers to stand up to him with any consistency have been Hamilton and Button, he's trounced everyone else. Against that kind of pace simply getting close should be seen as a respectable performance from Vandoorne. Of course the car's total lack of reliability has made it hard to judge.
In Palmer's case he got a similar pass last year thanks to the Lotercedes-Renault being a bit a cobbled together and seemingly intent on harming it's drivers. This year he's been soundly beaten by Hulkenberg, I'd like to see Sainz in the factory Renault next year.


Jarno Trulli says hi.
He was actually significantly quicker than Alonso.

Harrison Vrbanjac

Trulli matched Alonso.


Trulli finished both seasons two places behind, from my perspective that looks quite one sided.


And what happened after Trulli started beating Alonso too often - Alonso manager Briatore began managing Trulli towards exit.

It makes you look really good when your personal manager is also the team boss...

Harrison Vrbanjac

Well in 2004 Trulli had one win, 8-7 in quali, 46-45 Points compare to Alonso, doesn't look one sided to me.


But Alonso was a better dancer.


The difference is that Stroll and Palmer aren't up against someone of Alonso's calibre.
The Honda situation has obviously hurt him too.

Torchwood Mobile

Stroll has scored points, so has a reprieve from this blacklist of yours.

Alonso beating Kimi that year was like scoring into an open goal. Kimi is too reliant on a balanced car, and Ferarri were unable to supply him with one that year. He was [modded] no matter who was in the other seat.

The 2015 Ferarri suited Kimi down to the ground. If he had been against Alonso in that car, I don't think it would have been such a whitewash.


So $troll finishes 9th after multiple retirements in a car his teammate qualified 7th - and we're supposed to be impressed?

Don't think so.


Stroll has brought a lot of money to the team, that's where his 'reprieve' comes from and why he has a seat.

Strolls performance has been lacklustre to say the least. Bottas beat Massa 85-53 last year, and it could be argued Massa came up short of the expected standard. This year Massa is leading 20-2 (and those 2 points came on the back of multiple retirements). Stroll is 'racing' against cars which should be a long way in his rearview mirror.

If Palmer brought as much money to Renault as Stroll did to Williams Mr Abiteboul would be singing a different tune, talking about his 'potential' and how he was improving every race.


He was [modded] no matter who was in the other seat.

"Modded" ? Is that some sort of new term you young people are using now?


Vandoorne has been a disappointment, but there are lots of mitigating circumstances: Honda, going up against FA in a very unreliable car which has limited running time, and in at least a couple of occasions McLaren bought updates that were only on Alonso's car. I did expect more from him though, and his Monaco unforced error was very costly.


He's saving fuel every lap as well. I think Alonso is just going flat out knowing the engine won't last even if he does save fuel.


I suspect FA to have been given a "carte blanche" to burn of the engines, while Stoffel has to keep running the engine modes that doesnt blow up his ICU

This makes most sense...


If Mclaren don't at least make Alonso look good then there is literally no reason for him to stick around.

It is all very manipulated, slowing Vandoorne to make Alonso look as fast as he used to be.


Id say it goes like this.
1st option - Alonso
2nd - Perez
3rd - Sirotkin
Tied as 4th - Buemi and Kubica
There are few issues to sort out, but I guess Alonso has better shot (for next 2-3 years) with Renault than with McL.
If he's not available, Perez should be good, given his past/present performance and relationship with Hulk
Sirotkin being groomed by Renault, especially Russia being such important market for Renault (owning 51 or so % of AvtoVAZ).
Buemi will easily get out of FE contract if Renault want to sign him.
Kubica, probably everyone's favorite, will do more than fine, on pair with everyone else bar Alonso, given the chance to practice.
So bring it on Renault !!!
It is about time to make some decent move forward, on 3 fronts: chassis, engine and driver...not necessarily in that order. 🙂


Don't think Renault can afford FA!

Also Perez would want FER or may be Williams with a Honda Engine in a few years. Anything else would only be a sidestep or no place.

Sirotkin was slower than RK.

Oh boy I really hope its RK! What a sweet comeback that would be!


Can they afford Alonso though? They'll need the GDP of a small country!


I don't think Alonso's retainer would be an issue.
Not only they can afford him, but he will be in no position to bargain as much as before.
If you think about it, he hes no chance of going to Mercedes as long as Hamilton is there.
He cannot go back to Ferrari, at least as long as Vettel is there.
He cannot go to RBR for whole raft of reasons...so what's left for him.
To stay put and hope that McL and Honda in particular will pull out a rabbit out of a hat, which they hopefully will...but does he has time and patience for it?
Pretty much the only viable option for him is Renault. They are on a upswing trajectory and will get better and better.
I'm sure they will get to the winning level sooner than McL with Honda.
Maybe McL will switch to Merc engines for next season and beyond, but can a customer team beat factory team on equal terms? I don't think so. They will probably be in a position to get a odd win here and there, but that's not enough to win a championship, which is the only motivation Alonso has.
I don't think he's nearly as keen to get load of money, compared to how keen he is to win third championship.
I'm sure he'd drive for free as long as he's in a winning car.


Has to be Sainz. Don't think he'll want a 4th season at STR and he's pretty quick.


Sainz should replace kimi at ferrari.
Would be great to see Kubica back but if that can't work out just yet Buemi is more than worthy of another F1 shot and would be a good choice for Renault. I'm sure they could sort his Renault FE contract out for Renault F1.


I like Sainz, I really do.
But the marquee 'juniorish driver on the grid, after, of course the definitively proven Verstappen, has got to now be considered Ocon.

Sainz has established a highly reliable trend of driver mistakes. Don't read me incompletely, he is a very, very fast driver; I don't think there is much doubt about it; he is very close if not on par with Verstappen.
But he trashes his car, a lot.
Ocon while with less milage racked up, therefore less reliablility on trending, he has demonstrated the opposite of above-average-trashing-of-the-car. His technical feedback is very good. His patience, maturity and poise is the best of the juniors, already.

If Ferrari were replacing anybody, and were willing to take a calculated gamble with a junior driver, Ocon would have to be considered better than Sainz by now, and based on trends, the delta will only get larger, as the season wears on.


Sainz suddenly being a crash-prone driver is a great example of recency bias that many F1 fans and pundits suffer from.

I put together a chart of each driver's crash rates across their careers so far, with champions highlighted:
I included every driver to race in either 2016 or 2017.

The way to read the chart is; Alonso has 280 race entries, in 14 of which he suffered a "driver-related" DNF (which is almost entirely just crashes, but I use this broader term so I can include disqualifications due to driver misconduct and other things).
Therefore Alonso averages 20 race entries per 1 driver DNF.

Sainz averages 11.75 races per driver DNF, which is about average and is identical to Verstappen. Ocon has yet to suffer a driver-related DNF so I couldn't include him; if he crashes out of the next race he will slot between Rosberg and Alonso with 17 races per DNF. So although you are right about Ocon's safe driving (so far), you are wrong about Sainz.
I would like to take time to point out Ricciardo's ridiculous 58 races-per-DNF record.

I don't see how you can say Ocon is clearly better than Sainz right now. He's only beaten Perez once this whole season, and Sainz is probably at least on a par with Perez.


is sainz faster than raikkonen?


Is anyone slower than Raikkonen would be a better question.

Only $troll and FacePalmer if you ask me.


Doubt Kubica can challenge for points with Renault. It is wish, but let's get real, he is not the same guy he used to be.


He was faster than Sirotkin in his test. The only reason he is being talked about is because his performance was so incredible.


He is not the same!! he is better


@ Craig...That means zip really. hat we need to see are the lap times this car was capable of when raced on this same circuit. That would establish a base. Then we would need to see what the times between sirotkin and kubica were to make any sort of valid comparison. A further evaluation would be to consider the negative effects of kubica's physical limitations as a reference point. A straight two driver shoot out, has certain merits,however a deeper analysis would be more likely to throw up a better opinion, IMO.


Yep, he is better.


Ok, check on wiki for his performance.


I think lots of fans will be hoping it's Kubica, but my money would be on Sirotkin if I was a betting man .


Considering the fact Kubica was out of F1 car for 6 years and he beat hard Sirotkin laptimes on his latest test, the only thing that would come after Sirotkin seat is russian money..


Sirotkin seat is russian money..

Nail hit firmly on the head 😊


Come on bring Kubica back. He'd be an immediate fan favorite. And to be honest, while I am not saying this is an outcome I want at Renault, I'd love to see Alonso and Kubica as team mates. They're friends too.

Stephen Taylor

Renault are only probably binning Palmer . They ain't binning Hulk which is is what would have to happen for your fantasy to come true.


The logical option would be Sirotkin because he's already part of the team and available. There is a 'but', however: last season he was widely expected to blitz GP2, and he didn't.

I'm sure Buemi would do a good job, but he appears commited elsewhere, but Renaultsport F1, Renault eDAMS, there seems to be a link there.

Kubica: lovely thought but I can't see it happening without exhaustive actual testing in a current car, and that appears to be outlawed on many levels.

Ocon: isn't he still a Mercedes contracted driver? I'm sure Force India want to hang on to him, especially if Perez goes elsewhere.

Sainz: hanging on for a Red Bull seat if/when Ricciardo moves.

The rest: who knows? My hope for a long shot: Oli Rowland to win F2 and get promoted. He's part of Renault's development programme aftef all.

In the meantime I hope Jo Palmer discovers his mojo and starts walkin' his talk.


Kubica: lovely thought but I can't see it happening without exhaustive actual testing in a current car, and that appears to be outlawed on many levels.

I bet your point of view slightly changed since then? 🙂


I see Hulkenberg as an incredible good driver and Renault are lucky to have him. He has a lot of experience in F1 which Jolyon Palmer doesn't. Results will come but expecting a less experienced driver to perform as well as an experienced one and one with Hulkenbergs Capabilities is asking too much too quick. Personally I would love to see Hulkenberg in a top car because I think he can get results and is out performing the Renault.


It's not asking too much for Palmer to be close to (but behind) Hulk and scoring a few points. The midfield is too tight to have 1 driver pointless.

Look at Verstappen, inexperience is not a fail-safe excuse.


@ Julie...sorry, but you can't out perform the car.The performance Alonso gets out of the car is simply what that car is able to do, in the right hands. That's why Palmer should be shown the door. The wrong pair of hands.


Agreed Ken -short of getting out and running in front of the car, you can't outperform the car. You outperform your teammate in the same car. The Hulk is doing that to Palmer, but if someone else came along and got better results than the Hulk -then they would be outperforming the Hulk -the car is an inanimate object, without a brain -it does what it's told in the hands of a driver...


Good analogy.

It's so dumb how people think drivers can make a car go faster than it should, I mean what???

Torchwood Mobile

@Kenneth...sorry, but it is possible to outperform a car.

At least two drivers on this grid have demonstrated that on multiple occassions.

Not ALL cars, and one driver is ahead by a few vehicles from his nearest rival, but it is possible.


@ Torchwood....I would have to disagree with your proposition. Any car, no matter what the genesis, can only do what it is ultimately able to do. That performance is defined by the laws of physics. Some drivers can get close or even on that limit but that is down to not only the driver but also the infinite number of variables that apply at any given time. No driver can out perform the car but one driver can out perform another driver.


I'm sorry but I don't think anyone is expecting from JP as much as from Hulk, it is expected to score "some" points at least. Last year he scored 1 point, one... OK car wasn't that good but this year is awful. I mean everyone got excited at Williams because Stroll scored 2 points, everyone celebrated like it was a podium at least, from team like Williams this was very very low, it would be sad to see that at Renault. Car is capable of delivering points but JP isn't.


Perez .


I don't think FI will let Perez and his cheque book out the door anytime soon.

Stephen Taylor

If Palmer still has nil by the end of the British GP -he's out I think . I think Renault will keep Jo until Silverstone has finished for marketing purposes then dump him if performances have not improved. I can see Sirotkin coming in on short term basis with Perez/Sainz coming in for 2018 alongside Hulk if they cannot lure Alonso of course. A Kubica comeback would be wonderful and it may happen but not with Renault.


Cyril needs to take a good look at the team itself... he says Jolyon is under performing, couldn't the same be said for Renault! It's not as if any 1/2 decent current F1 driver would be busting their guts to take JP's position.


Completely agree.

The only reason the Renault F1 team exists is because Abiteoul somehow managed to divert Ghosn's attention from Abiteoul's poor management of the Renault engine programme by promising him better exposure with a dedicated team.


Or rather -Old Cyril needs to have a good look in the mirror. To be told that you're not performing by an incompetent twit like Abiteboul must be the worst kind of insult Palmer could experience!!!


When Hulkenberg was first announced as the partner of Palmer for this season, l was disappointed at the pair Renault choose. I did not think Palmer did anything in his first season with them to explain him being retained. Granted that the car was difficult to shine with.
Hulkenberg has impressed me this year so far after having faded in my esteem last season in F.India. He did great to bring Renault the point they badly need and he definitely could use some help bringing in a bigger haul.
Who will partner him next season if not sooner, is difficult to see if Renault do not want to go with a rookie. Saintz would be a great grab but would he go for it this time?
I would like Vergne to be given another chance but I don't know if he is free or even on Renault's list. Kubica would make for a great story for sure. Can he be fit enough though? Ocon would be great as he is shown so far this season. He is with a much better team though, so he might think twice about moving, but long term Renault has to be a more promising team. Marc


What about Alonso?


I think he's waiting to hear if Mclaren will have a mercedes engine next year before he considers a move.


Mercedes engine on a McLarne means fighting for 3+ places. Alonso wants a championship fighting car. The only thing he is gonna stay with McL is money, Renault does not have it to pay him.


It would be an absolute pleasure to see Kubica race in F1 again. If even just to give the fans a feeling that there is a soul in F1 & even after his tragic accident he could find his way back even just to finish 2017 perhaps?


James, does Carlos Sainz have a contract with Red Bull for next year? Did Sainz turn down Renault last year? I thought it was Red Bull who refused to let him go.


Both Horner and Marko take every chance they get to remind us all three drivers are under contract and are not going anywhere next year.

No mention of Kvyat..


@ Robert...I think that Tost said some time back that he'd be happy to retain his drivers for another year.


James, any comment to make on the dynamite remarks from Toto on "vicious" Nico Rosberg? Was he accurately quoted? Do you think he meant it or is he just soothing Lewis' ego a little bit?


That was a very 'vicious' comment from Wolffie. Not very nice at all and he should apologise to Rosberg.


Perhaps Wolff thought that was a compliment? He did say that Nico used every weapon that he could against Lewis. It's not like the interview was with press friendly to Lewis ... it was with Jonathan McEvoy of the Daily Mail, a rabid detractor of Lewis, and a known booster of Rosberg.

Who knows if words were torqued, or if it's all just a show. Same journo now has Rosberg's reply up on the DM's website, for s'more click bait.


Palmer will finish the year and be replaced by Alonso next year. He'll finish his career with the team he won championships with. Renault have the cash and could use the PR that Alonso would bring.


Renault could also use the 0.5 sec that Alonso also claim to bring with him! ;o)


If she only brings 0.5s over FacePalmer then Hulkenberg will still be ahead.


I think there are two questions here. One of them is who will partner Hulkenberg next year and I am sure that Renault will talk to anyone on the grid that is available, Alonso included. But who will get that seat is more difficult to predict.
Second question is whether Palmer will manage to keep his position till end of the season and based on the waves resonating from Renault, this doesn't seem to be the case. My assumption is that there will be another driver in that car at Spa if not before. But again, who can Renault give the seat at short notice with certainty that he will drive at similar pace as Hulkenberg? Not sure that any of the mentioned drivers can guarantee that. Just to throw some curved balls in, maybe they ask Rosberg to come back for last nine races of the year, you know, just for fun? Or Kobayashi after his breathtaking qualifying performance at Le Mans?


I hope Kubica's test isn't being under appreciated for what it showed. During his time on the grid his talent was constantly praised by engineers and fellow drivers. I remember reading comments from commentators and ex drivers that he wasn't just good.. he was extra special and in the league of the very best. I remember reading opinions that he was considered every bit as good as Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso. To straight away do that many laps... competitively... after being away from single seaters for so long is remarkable. It will be a damn shame if he isn't signed by a team.


Jo Palmer, I don't know much about him beyoind his F1 on track performances, but one has to say that it is about time for Jolyon, the sooner the better; looks like the spitting image of a richboy pay-driver. He's had more than his fair share.
Sergey Sirotkin
Good for driver development, but Renault needs car development, I can't see tham going with a driver with less F1 experience, though I think Sirotkin could be good material in the medium term.
Sebastien Buemi, one must look at his portfolio/cv and say that this man has earned a chance back in.
Robert Kubica, possibly the most well liked driver possibility of the fans. Recent testing suggests that Kubica does know about the prerogative for another driver at Renault, but can he physically do it? That's what is being wondered about, but if he is, I predict decisive fans support.

not mentioned
the elephant in the room, Fernando Alonso
I am surprised it wasn't even mentioned.
Regardless of whether Renault think they have a car to match his talent, I'd bet Alonso is thinking that the current Renault better matches his talent than the McHonda.
If this was leagally viable, I'd expect Alonso to 'make it happen'!


It is a shame about Palmer, his DNFs this year were not all down to him. But in this game you make your own luck. Rubbish qualifying puts you at the arse end of the grid where accidents are bound to happen. My bet is on Sirotkin to take his place for the post-Silverstone end of this season. Next year, Kubica or Alonso would be great PR for Renault but they need points (has Kubica still got it?) and not prima donnas (Alonso).


The final screws are turned slowly to the uninspiring career of J Palmer. Dad has paid enough to Renault, his Son does not cut the mustard on track. That's coming from a Brit.
Harry Palmer could have done a better job. But he is a Spy a fictional spy (Micheal Caine).


gee BK Flamer....if you're gonna pull a name out of a hat...why not...George Fornby? 🙂


George is far too busy cleaning windows !

Tornillo Amarillo

IMHO, Kubica is for replacing Palmer this year!!
If Kubica does well, he could be in the option list for next year.

But 2018 is tough, because you have to hire a driver for a whole season and OCON is the one, F.India has history to relief drivers who are growing to a new more important team. OCON could have no option than to join Renault, if Wolff continues to praise Bottas.

It seems Sainz cannot be free from RB unfortunately.
Alonso could not be interested at this stage.


Agreed about Kubica.

I'm not 100% sure he would bring in the points, but here's the thing: From Renault's point of view does it matter?

Of course they want more points (what F1 team doesn't), but given the choice between an entirely uninspiring driver who has not brought in one single point for the team and a driver who may or may not bring in some points but who (so far as I can tell) is liked by damn near everyone and will if nothing else generate massive positive PR for the team, it seems like an easy choice:

Ditch Palmer, give Kubica a go, see how he goes, and then we'll know if he's a serious option for 2018.


If an under performer has to go then why wait...let him go now..

James - are you talking replacement now or next year?

Stephen Taylor

He means this season.


Fernando Alonso Díaz. You'll see.


Isn't Jolyon Palmer a pay driver? He might just keep the seat, if Dad can come up with more dosh.


And shame on Renault if they as a factory team goes for a pay driver again by extending his contract!


Not this season he isn't. I think he brings a modest amount of commercial sponsorship, but he's also on a modest salary. We're not talking Stroll money here!


They're a factory team now, so they should already be well funded - At this point the only way more cash will help is if McLaren start auctioning off some of their world championship poi...no, wait, that won't work either... 😐


I would love to see them out Kubica in for the rest of the season. Even if he could only do 80% of the races, in the ones that he can do I bet he'd outscore any of those other drivers doing all of them.

Palmer has been very poor and was lucky to get a second season imo. There is no way he'll get a third in F1 unless he brings some serious cash to the table for a team like Sauber.


My bet will be Perez or Alonso, since both have ruin already their chances to go to any other top team.

I don't think they will risk to bring a rookie (the case of Sirotkin) next season, Sainz days in TR are also ending, he either will move to RB or Ferrari since RB also need to space for his own rookie Gasly

I'd love to see Kubica come back as well, but that would require a lot of other movements in the grid... maybe.


Do the drivers always have identical cars and power units?


Usually, except where one driver might get an upgrade before the other driver.

The exception was Vettel/Webber a few years ago where Webber used a three wheeled car during some races (with limited success).


For me, the first step would be to really work with Kubica and it looks like he can deal with the physical strain see if you can get him in the car 2 or 3 races from now. He was an exceptional driver and so much of top flight competition is in the head.
If he can put up results you have him as an option for next year, if he doesn't, FA is the obvious best option for a two year contract.


Oh, how i miss the JEV!
He is fortunes fool!


the logical choice is Kubica....Mark Hughes confirmed he was 0.45s quicker than Sirotkin. Buemi is a past F1 reject, Alonso wouldn't leave Mclaren for Renault, especially now they are getting Merc power.... what have Renault got to lose, might as well put Kubica in, a known supertalent and his proven he still has it.


Couldn't agree more. F1 needs this kind of Niki Lauda "against all odds" type story. All the other options are boring.


F1 needs this kind of Niki Lauda "against all odds" type story.

Never thought of it that way. Great analogy.

Stephen Taylor

Ah but was Kubica running a light fuel load and doing several short stints. Renault say Kubica is not on the list so that is that . Sirotkin it is. then. As Joe Saward put it on his site romantics like many on here the thought that Kubica might comeback with Renault but that is very unlikely


Kubica, Kubica, Kubica!!!!

Torchwood Mobile

I would love for Kubica to finish the 2017 season.

I want to say that this pressure on Jolyon is unfair; you cannot bench the GP2 champion for a year, and not expect some fall in performance.
But my argument falls apart rather quickly; Magnussen watched from the sidelines for a year, and he is doing better.

I think Renault should divide the rest of the season into three, and let Jolyon, Kubica, and Sirotkin all have races. Whomever does best, gets 2018.


It's been a long time coming. Palmer hasn't once, since his coming into F1, shown any kind of promise as a competitive driver. Let's give some real talent a chance... this is F1 for gods sake!


For me, RF1 Team car is so so so much off the pace that first of all they need someone who will develop the car!!!! - just bring the car back to the front - the only option for me is to hire Kubica as a test driver / second driver... the tenth driver... whatever - make a good car, then they can think about signing someone. To be honest who can give the best advice to engineers from listed guys? So first things first Kubica is the only option to bring the car back...


It all depends on who will replace Kimi at Ferrari next year and who will replace Massa at Williams...


looks like Massa will stay at Williams, reports already have him talks about one more year contract.

Or who knows, maybe Joylon will take his dady's money to williams and play along with stroll in wiliams/honda cars around the world lol.


said it at Monaco time last year, palmer is out of his depth in f1
I was surprised he was given the second seat at Renault this season, regardless the results will speak for him so I don't really have to

reckon Renault would be better trying anyone else in the seat, at least there's something new to be learned there


I reckon Jo Palmer is safe for the rest of year -not for any other reason other than Renault is down the musical chairs list that has to play out before the music stops on the Renault chair.
First up is Kimi's seat at Ferrari -my money (and hope) is on Ricciardo (assuming he can get out of his contract. If so then Sainz takes his seat. If Ric stays, then Sainz is a good option for Renault -although i imagine RB might only loan him -Sainz is RB's insurance policy against either RIC or VER leaving in 2017/18/19. I think that's a win/win/win as Sainz gets an alternative drive in a works team, but still has a parachute back to RB. RB gets to effectively keep their guy happy, but still has dibbs on him when and if they need him -it also gives them more leverage over Renault.
The music will also stop in a way not on a seat, but on Alonso. What he decides to do will have an impact on Renault's decision making -if he were available and affordable to Renault, i'm sure they would take him before Sainz.

Given that Renault status as a works team will only continue to improve - i don't see any other "new" drivers (Sirotkin, Buemi, Kubica et al), getting a look in as the more established drivers will be lining up before them.
Not sure of Grosjean's contract status, but wouldn't be surprised to see both he and Ocon on Renault's wishlist for the next few years as well.


If Renault are serious about succeeding over the next couple of seasons before the FIA changes the Hybrid PU engine regs for 2020, they can really only go for one driver ... Alonso.
They have spent hundreds of million$ returning to F1 as a "Works Team" but hey are lacking in the development side of the garage.
They've stuck with Palmer as a cheaper option for 2017 while they set themselves up for a huge tilt at the top 3 teams in 2018.
They say they have got a positive change coming for their PU and it's obvious by Hulk's Quali and race results that they have done mountains of work on their chassis. The one thing missing now is a top level driver combination to take the cars to the next level.
Hulk is a damn good driver who can develop a race car but unfortunately, Palmer isn't. Jo spends far too much time off track for various reasons and he doesn't have the stoic demeanour of a champion when dealing with the negatives. He's far to hard on himself and the team which creates an environment where he doesn't work well with the engineers. He has become a liability.
Renault will be a force to reckon with IF they do have the package they envisage for 2018.
The only thing missing is Alonso!


I was shocked that Renault kept him in 2017.


100+ laps for Kubica is not a basic test appearance - this would have cost the team a lot of money and wouldn't be something they would offer if there was no value to it. If they were just being nice, I can imagine a lap count of 20 or so would be more like it.

This brings Sirotkin into question: he was at that test, and by some accounts was considerably slower than a guy that only a few years ago was in danger of losing an arm. Sirotkin has been on the periphery for too long, and I think has no realistic chance of racing in F1 anymore. Why on earth would Renault plug someone in that has already proven slower to someone else?

Buemi would have some merit, he may be out of an F1 drive but there must be a reason that Red Bull kept him on the payroll - even if it is for development and to provide a benchmark.


If kubica was 0.45 seconds quicker than sirotkin like mark Hughes wrote, and if kubica is as fit as he says he (fitter than in 06-10 and weighing less than since 08) then sirotkin should not be considered. Who else can jump into an f1 car after 6 years and be immediately fast, these new guys are struggling to be fast in f1 cars even after much testing and many races (palmer and vandoorne)


Palmer needs to fiercely concentrate on getting the technicals right. Poorly perfoming cars like this have got a lot of technical weaknesses. He needs to have some ego and see hulkenberg as a teammate he must try to beat all the time. He must work well with his engineers to stabilize as best as he can,the car's inherent technical instabilities ( setups/car balance etc ) ;or else he wouldn't be able to put his foot on the pedal and drive as fast as he would like to . Maldonado struggled too after he left the familiar Williams environment. It is all about the technicals; it goes hand in hand with pace.


I genuinely think it will be Kubica. (if he genuinely wants it and is sure he is able).

Firstly, it's phenomenal PR for the team, which will likely lead to more sponsors. Secondly his feedback for developing the team is known to be excellent, thirdly, he's free and available at short notice and fourthly.... It is an absolutely zero risk gamble on the teams side. He'd be replacing a driver contributing absolutely nothing. If Kubica is well off the pace nobody will be critical of him, he will have an opportunity to get up to speed over a few races at no cost to the team given the fact he is replacing somebody not scoring points, worst case scenario from the teams side, they still have a car not scoring points. If it works out, they have a rekindled world class driver on their hands who will drive the team forward, plus all the benefits of the story, the PR, attention etc.


It won't be Kubica sorry mate.


Don´t forget Felipe Nasr whom is working for a comeback in F1 in 2018 at the latest...


..... and who Palmer had the beating of in GP2 in 2013/14. Nasr's demeanour reminds me of Nelson Piquet snr, who I'm also trying to forget .....

søren christensen

In many ways, I feel sad for Jolly Palmer - and especially the way he and his backers have been treated by Renault all year. There is not much doubt, that Renault, as stated by Magnussen last year, were only interested in an interim driver to fill the 2.seat in 2017. A nice sponsor contribution to help pay for the Hulk was welcome, which Palmer was able to satisfy.
With most of the race engineer capacities allocated to the high profile Hulkenberg, it is now clear, that Palmer will end in the bin with F1 rejects before end of 2017.
Once again, we see the strange way of people management by Mr. Abiteboul. This kind of public blame culture is so typical for him, and a serious team manager like Fred Vasseur would never have done this. Magnussen called the bluff of Abiteboul, and made a clever decision in 2016 to join Haas on a multiple (salaried) contract.
Abiteboul needs positive press to protect himself, so I guess, he will go for the popular choice of Kubica to fill the 2.seat from after Silverstone.
If a success, everyone is happy. If not, Kubica will be easy to kick out, and replaced from 2018 with Sainz.
If Palmer could eat his own words in 2016, where he was very critical of Magnussen for his reasons to give Renault the pink slip, in favor of taking a much better and serious deal at Haas, I am sure he would.


@soren, Re: Abiteboul protecting himself -i've wondered previously about the security of his position -especially in the wake of the drama with RB. I've come to the conclusion that he must have sex tapes of all of his superiors....there's no other way he could have remained in F1 this long!


this is the tenth new headline since the end of the race on sunday so palmer will knuckle down to do what he needs to do, score points. it appears as though the mob have turned their attention from stroll to palmer almost as if palmer has only just started racing..


It's true he's had shockingly bad luck right? Every time his name come sup it's around a car failure right?
I do think he's got questions to answer but even Massa has better luck and that's saying something...

Richard Williams

Please, someone put Jean Erica Verne in there!


Renault owe it to JP to give him the full season to prove himself. I wish him all the best.


SO this is how they bring robert kubica back into the fold. Theres more going on here than meats the eye. With mclarren sold to alfaromeo yesterday and a supply of ferrari power next year, renault could now drop redbull (whos contract is up this year)

This could get messy all round and palmers the lynch pin here, when he goes all hells gonna break loose


Okay ill elaborate where i can>

If Kubica came back into the fold, at palmers expense its because renault mean buisness and they do have big ambitions for next year, redbull have be highly critical of Renault for nearly 5 years now, this came to a head 2 years ago, when red bull had a stop only to go crawling back to renault, and renault only agreed to sell engines to redbull again after bernie himself interviended to smooth over the cracks, well that contracts has an option at the end of the year for redbull and renault to part ways, my moneys on this happening, in palmer is dropped, because renault as a full works team wont want to be beaten by red bull, the french company is very proud, and sees redbull as a major splot on is repuation.

Futher more, the italian press are reporting that alfa have already purchased mclarren, they will ferrari power next year, badged alfa, and the end of a british racing legacy will be complete. Make sure everyone at woking pats ron on the back, and last one out turns of the lights.

But all of that will depend on them dumping palmer.


APerfectSquare and Cyber, would you guys care to elaborate?

I've sensed that Alfa are in the wings in terms of re-badged Ferrari PU's, if not a complete Alfa Romeo team, but my heat-addled brain can't get round the bits about Palmer being the lynch pin or Renault dumping Red Bull?


Exactly @APerfectSquare!
And could this even mean the end of McLaren in F1? CEO Marchionne could ditch the McLaren name and rebrand the team 'Alfa Romeo Squadra Corse' as he has hinted in the past about bringing the historic manufacturer back in to F1 racing to promote their sporting image. Who cares about Honda then, as their contract even has drop clause in case of change of ownership.



Goggles Paisano.

søren christensen

@anotsoperfectsquare and@cyber - silly season surely has begun - or are you just a few months delayed - say 1. April.....


Come on @Søren, we are maximum just a couple of Grappas ahead of you! ;o)

Apart from Alfa not buying out McL F1 just right now... FCA and Ferrari boss Marchionne has though at multiple occasions expressed his strong desire to bring back Alfa Romeo to F1 with its own team. (Provided that they are never ever as good as Ferrari. ;o)

So much like Toro Rosso to Red Bull. Alfa would be the junior team to Ferrari, designed to condition future talent for its bigger brother. Marchionne spoke to that very point around new year when announcing Giovinazzi as Ferrari’s new 3rd driver.


Sad state of affairs when Great Britain may only have one British Driver in F1 in 2018.
Palmer hasn't shone, Jenson retired and Hamilton in his 30's isn't going to be in the sport many more years.
Where are the next Mansell, Hill, Button and Hamilton? British drivers in F1 seem a endangered species.


Lando Norris is on the way.


50% Calrissian; 50% Chuck!! 😀


Like cricket being hidden away on pay TV youngsters won't know what F1 is...


@APerfectSquare: I think you give Palmer too much credit. If they want to restructure/rebrand the team they will do it regardless of what drivers are in their employ at the time.


Robert is hihgly motivated to rejoin F1 properly. I think he could drive the worse car in the grid to feel like home, as he recently described F1 car's cockipt. He's fit and ready to have a proper go in Grand Prix racing once again. He would be great asset for any team given his incredible knowledge (he would be race engineer given his knowledge) and also experience.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!