TJ13 have learned from a top source that Renault have warned Jolyon Palmer that his Formula One place is not assured and he has to start scoring points after drawing a blank so far this season.
The Briton’s German team mate Nico Hulkenberg has taken all Renault’s 18 points from seven races while Palmer, in his second season with the team, has struggled.
Earlier this week TJ13 reported how the Renault boss’ reaction from Canada was that he must qualify higher, but this public message has raised up an alert level and its looking like JOJO needs to raise his game to match, but still probably look at a new drive next year.
The 26-year-old, who scored only one point in a difficult 2016 debut year, has finished 11th in his last two outings.
“No one is safe in F1,”
Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told the motorsport.com website when asked if Palmer was safe from the threat of being replaced and whether the team had an alternative.
“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. (TJ13 note the excellent dodge of answering the questions about alternatives)
“The fact is that Jo has a car which is a point-scoring car, and he has to enter into the points. Full stop.”
Renault are currently seventh in the championship and Abiteboul said he hoped to go into the August break, after four more races, having moved up to sixth.
The Frenchman set a pre-season target of finishing the year in the top five with possible podium finishes.
said Abiteboul: “We see that there is a very substantial gap between Nico and Jo in qualifying, and in the race,”
It has not been missed by #TJ13 that this GAP is (currently) the second largest of any team in the entire field.
The team boss concluded by saying:
“We are discussing on a regular basis obviously with Jo to see how he can improve.”
Renault tested their ex-driver Robert Kubica in Spain, with the Pole, who has not raced in Formula One since he partially severed his forearm in a 2011 rally crash, making a good impression and doing 115 laps, reportedly exceeding the pace of the reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin.
Jolyon might underestimate the threat from the polish driver, moving controls inside a cockpit would be fairly simple, and Kubica was widely regarded amongst other drivers as one of the best in the world.
In light of the initial testing findings, we might see the pressure increase on Palmer to justify his place… and perhaps a few more secret tests…which might not be so secret..thats no good for 2018 sponsors.
The message to Palmer is even more clear, he needs to go put on his big boy pants and come out ready to prove he can drive the car to its full potential (at least) in ten days time or ask for a reference.
Jolyon has never won any prizes for popularity amongst fans so my advice is:
JOJO – drive faster and hire Angie Voluti as a PR expert / PR mentor. Be warned if raw talent and said popularity is a factor in the decisions of next years line up (note* I am avoiding money here), then you might find that sometimes in F1, without results in a point scoring car, even your lucky rocketship pants don’t help.
ps.. Alonso / Kubica line up just might make Renault Sport F1 the most publicly supported team of 2018 outside Ferrari #just sayin