Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul has praised Jolyon Palmer‘s “professionalism and his loyalty” following the Brit’s final race for the team at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Palmer’s season is being cut short to make way for Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. and, whilst Sainz crashed out of his final race with his team, Palmer put in a good performance – rising from eighteenth on the grid to twelfth.
This improvement, and Palmer’s nearly two seasons with the team, have earned commendation from Abiteboul, who commented, “Today was Jolyon’s last race. It was particularly challenging as he had to start near the back due to grid penalties, but thanks to a good strategy and a solid race, he was able to move up six position and finish twelfth.
“His performance is another demonstration of his professionalism and his loyalty, and a very good way to bid farewell to the Renault family. We sincerely wish him the best.”
Whilst Palmer was able to make his way up the grid, the same was unfortunately not true for teammate Nico Hulkenberg. The German driver qualified twelfth and although he was helped by penalties for drivers around him, he was unable to finish the race.
This continued lack of reliability for the team has contributed to their eight failures to finish this season, and is something Abiteboul is keen to remedy before next weekend’s American Grand Prix.
“Nico was also having a strong race, he had a good start, making up positions and the strategy was playing out very nicely. Unfortunately, shortly after his pit stop, when he was in a good position to move up, we had to retire the car.
“It is very frustrating as reliability has been our weakness this season.
“Overall we’ve had disappointing back to back races without any points. We are in a tight battle in the Constructors’ Championship and we need to make the most of each of the last four races. We will regroup before we head to Austin and come back with a renewed dynamic.”
Despite his criticism of the team’s reliability this season though, Abiteboul saved his last piece of praise for the team’s engine, which helped the Red Bull Racing team to another double-podium.
“I’d like to congratulate Red Bull Racing for their double-podium finish. They were very strong here again at Suzuka, which is a power sensitive track and demonstrates once again that on Sundays, the Renault engine works.”