Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Jolyon Palmer believes he has improved mentally having gotten through a tough debut season in F1 last year.
Having returned to F1 as a full-time constructor in 2016, Renault found the going hard as they worked to rekindle the success in the sport they had enjoyed in years gone by.
It was clear to see that both its drivers were finding the RS16 difficult to drive, and dealing with that, coupled with speculation over his future made times testing for Palmer. But having come out the other end relatively unscathed, the Brit feels those experiences have made him a stronger competitor today, as he explained to Autosport.com recently.
“I’ve become a lot stronger because of this year, mentally it has been tough.
“Everything that could have been thrown my way has been, in terms of driving a difficult car and maybe being undervalued.
“Also, having all the mind games with different drivers out there [chasing the seat for 2017] and not knowing what’s going to happen next means you gain a lot of mental strength, as well as improving as a driver.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing if it can improve you in the long run and hopefully this will be the toughest it gets.”
Palmer has been notoriously slow at getting up to speed and making his presence felt in each of the series he has competed in on his way through the rankings, after all, it took him four years in the GP2 Series to finally win the title. Give him that time however, and he will usually begin to shine.
The Brit also feels he has improved on the technical front too, with the in-season test session at Silverstone, really helping him to get a good grasp of where they needed to be with the car, and with that extra experience under his belt, Palmer should now be able to push on in 2017 and deliver a much stronger campaign.
“In terms of technical understanding, I’ve learned a lot.
“The Silverstone test day, we were trying loads of different things with the car and generally we have ended up with the car in the window where we can get the most out of it because we have tried quite a lot of things and we have narrowed down to where we are now.
“This team is very good, there are a lot of very experienced guys here who have been used to being much further up the field and who are not happy to be where we are, so everyone is working to get more out of the team.
“Especially with Renault coming in now, being where we are, is not acceptable, but we have been trying a lot of different things and there’s a lot we can collectively learn for the future.”
With Nico Hulkenberg lining up as the Brit’s team-mate in 2017, he also now has a highly experienced team-mate to learn from, as well as a great marker from which to measure himself against.