With a strong end to his rookie season with the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team last year, Jolyon Palmer believes the team will continue to grow into the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Palmer moved into the race seat at the Enstone-based outfit after Frenchman Romain Grosjean moved to Haas F1 Team having previously being their third driver, before the French squad returned to Grand Prix racing when they took over Lotus F1 Team. With this transition, there were doubts about the team’s performance, with them knowing at the start of 2016 that it would be tough.
The Briton believes they have achieved better than he expected, with their focus switching to 2017 early in the year, and he is optimistic that Renault will be the team that makes the biggest move forward.
“I think we will make a good step next year,” said Palmer. “This year, we knew at the start of the year that it would be tough.
“I think to be honest, we have done better than I expected, especially as the year has gone on, to get the most out of it. I think next year the focus has been on the new car for a long time and we have got good investment in the team. We have still got great people in the team to do a good job, hopefully we will be the team that makes the biggest step.”
Palmer was only able to secure one point, unlike team-mate Kevin Magnussen who scored eight points, but despite not reaching the points as many times as his Danish team-mate, Renault extended Palmer’s contract to another year late in the season. Looking at his performance in the early stages of the season to the end, Palmer believes he has improved a lot, making fewer mistakes as the year went past.
“I feel like I have improved a lot since day one in F1, especially the start of the year,” he added. “Melbourne was a good race but early on if you look at what I was doing in the first six races, to what I was doing at the end, I improved.
“I was making some mistakes but as the year went on I was cutting out the mistakes too. So every qualifying I was in Q2 since Malaysia and generally doing a good clean race as well, so the improvement is pretty clear. Obviously a tough start and some mistakes on my side, and as the year has gone on it has got much better.”