…if he doesn’t perform this weekend. Talk within the paddock has revealed Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn has called for two drivers of the caliber of Hülkenberg to be in the car in the medium term with a view to see a star in the car in 2018, most likely Fernando Alonso.
Renault and Williams share a very similar problem in that only one of their drivers are actually performing to the required standard expected by their teams and fans of F1. For the top flight of motor sport, both Jolyon Palmer and Lance Stroll do not seem to fit as examples of the ‘best drivers in the world’ by any stretch. Williams’ young driver is in his rookie year still but Renault’s Palmer has already had a season of racing in F1 but only scored a single point during the Malaysian GP in 2016. This year, ‘nil pwa’…
In contrast Palmer’s team mate Nico Hulkenberg has already scored 14 points with steady improvement from the start of the season in Melbourne. Last time out in Spain, ‘the Hulk’ finished a very respectable 6th whilst Palmer trundled in finishing 15th.
Stroll’s results are similarly terrible but Williams are still an independent team needing cash sponsorship so it’s fair to say that Lances’ seat is very likely safe despite disappointing finishes. Renault on the other hand are a now a full factory team again without, the cash requirements of Williams. Furthermore Renault have a point to prove moving away from being Red Bull Racing’s main supplier of engines – they’re gunning for wins and championships.
Palmer acknowledges his predicament and admits ‘it’s up to me to deliver now’, but it is too little too late. During the Monaco paddock interviews yesterday, the son of former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer knows the writing is on the wall but remains positive.
“It’s positive to see the car’s good, but when you’re out in Q1 and your team-mate’s up high in Q3 it’s hurting more because you can see what’s capable,” said Palmer.
“But there wasn’t so much between us in Barcelona, it was exaggerated Saturday and Sunday, so I know what the car’s capable of and so it’s up to me to deliver now.
“It’s not how I wanted the year to start, it was here [in Monaco] last year where I had the final straw when I ended up in the wall and I thought, ‘this has got to change’.
“I’ve already thought that many times this year, but hopefully it [the situation] will [improve], it’s just a matter of putting a weekend together.
“I think Barcelona on paper was very bad, but the reality was not so bad, so it’s just it needs to come together and then we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Palmer added that technical issues have also proved challenging to deal with.
“I’ve had more issues than this time last year,” he commented.
“Last year the performance was a lot more in myself, I think, and while this year there’s performance in myself, we’ve lost a lot of track time in most Grands Prix in practice sessions.
“We’ve also had other external issues that I didn’t have so much this time last year.
“I’m disappointed with how it’s gone, but I’m ready to turn it around, I think it’s not that far away from putting it together, and then I can get into a cycle and kick on like last year.”
Come in number 30, your time is done.