Palmer must deliver, says Renault F1 boss
17 Jun 2017 - 0:30
London: 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.
The 26-year-old, who scored only one point in a difficult 2016 debut year, has finished 11th in his last two outings, however.
"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. "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.
Hulkenberg has scored points in four races so far since moving to Renault from Force India at the end of last year with a best of sixth in Spain. He was eighth in Canada last weekend.
"We see that there is a very substantial gap between Nico and Jo in qualifying, and in the race," said Abiteboul. "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.
They also have Russian Sergey Sirotkin as a development driver.
Meanwhile, Formula One chairman and chief executive Chase Carey will be the official starter of the 85th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race this weekend, organisers said yesterday. The 62-year-old American, who will wave the French flag to signal the start of the endurance classic at the Sarthe circuit, follows on from Hollywood A-lister Brad Pitt who did the honours last year.
Ford executive chairman Bill Ford was Le Mans starter in 2015 while NASCAR's Jim France was handed the role in 2013. The late Steve McQueen waved the flag in 1971, the year he starred in the movie "Le Mans". "By starting the race side by side, we will be demonstrating the new ties forged between the ACO and Formula One," said Automobile Club de l'Ouest president Pierre Fillon, who will join Carey.
"With Chase Carey as head of Formula One, the time has come to work together on the sporting calendar, to ensure fans can follow the Grand Prix and endurance racing seasons and enjoy both disciplines to the full."
Carey has been in full charge of Formula One since January when US-based Liberty Media completed its takeover and replaced previous supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
The sport's new owners have made improving the fan experience a priority and have also spoken of their desire to avoid major calendar clashes where possible.
Last year's Le Mans 24 Hours coincided with the European Grand Prix in Baku, now renamed the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and scheduled for June 25.