It’s been a poor start to the 2017 season for Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Jolyon Palmer, but managing director Cyril Abiteboul has pledged the team’s full support in helping the former GP2 Series champion recover his form for the remainder of the year.
Palmer, in his second season of Formula 1 competition, has struggled to match the pace and results of his Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, the German scoring all 14 of the team’s points so far in 2017 with a best result of sixth. Palmer meanwhile has managed no better than a pair of 13th places.
At the recent Spanish Grand Prix, Palmer was unable to explain his lack of pace having finished the race nine places behind his team-mate.
When asked by Motorsport.com about Palmer’s lack of pace, Abiteboul said: “I think during the weekend, he had on occasion glimpses of a good performing package overall – a combination of the car, the set-up, the balance and himself driving – we could see that and again in particular in qualifying.
“But I think it’s in general on Saturday, that’s the issue, we put the car on the Tarmac, it immediately works and some of the times you put it on the Tarmac and it doesn’t work and you have not changed a lot.
“On Saturday, he was not happy in the morning. Going into qualifying it was not better and on Sunday it didn’t improve. We have to look into that – we are committed to make this work.
“But you know – that’s five races into the season, so we also have more statistics to understand what is working and what is not working.”
A feature of Palmer’s rookie season in 2016 was his upturn in form during the latter stages of the year, and Abiteboul backs his driver to do the same this year.
“[Last year] he had a slow start but a better finish,” said Abiteboul. “He can turn it around – that is what we believe and what we are working towards.”
Palmer himself remains positive that things will improve and is taking it one race at a time, starting with next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“I wasn’t able to get the pace out of the car when it was needed, however we were going better on the final set of tyres,” he said.
“My job now is to sit down with my engineers and analyse the race while we also have a good look at the car too. I’m determined that we will do better in Monaco.”