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Abiteboul sends clear warning to Palmer

NEWS STORY
16/06/2017

Ahead of last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, it's fair to say that there were two drivers very much under pressure to deliver.

While Lance Stroll finally came good, taking his Williams to ninth and thereby scoring his first points - on home ground to boot - at Renault, Jolyon Palmer could only manage eleventh, tantalisingly just outside the points.

To further reflect on the Briton, teammate Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth, behind Raikkonen, bringing his tally up to 18.

In his clearest warning yet, Renault team boss, Cyril Abiteboul, has admitted that the Briton that he must now deliver.

Asked if Palmer's seat is safe, and whether Renault has a replacement in mind, Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: "No one is safe in F1.

"F1 is not an environment where anyone can say loudly, 'I'm safe'," he continued. "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.

"What would happen then, I don't want to elaborate on that, and even further, who would be stepping in, because that's absolutely not the point for today. The fact is that Jo has a car which is a point-scoring car, and he has to enter into the points. Full stop."

Asked if there was a deadline, the Frenchman merely said: "I would hope that by the summer break I would be able to leave on holiday in sixth position in the championship.

"There is a bigger picture for the team, for Renault, for our partners," he continued, "and also for the two guys racing the car. Right now I feel that it's a bit almost unfair to Nico, who has to do a lot. The team is clearly very dependent on him.

"You could see that in Monaco. When Nico is out of the game, including for reasons beyond his control like when he had his gearbox failure, we struggle to finish in the points, despite a number of cars that were also not finishing the race. It's a challenge.

"We see that there is a very substantial gap between Nico and Jo in qualifying, and in the race," he admitted. "We are discussing on a regular basis obviously with Jo to see how he can improve."

In fairness, the Frenchman concedes that Palmer has had more than his fair share of bad luck, including failures that cost valuable track time.

"The first thing we had to do was deliver him a weekend that was a clean weekend, and we did that in Monaco," he said. "It was the first time in a while that we'd done that, and for me that weekend was almost a restart for the season for the relationship between Jo and the team, that is finally providing him the right platform in order for him to improve his game, and hopefully eventually to deliver.

"That process has to lead to a position where Jo will also make a contribution to the championship."

In addition to third driver Sergey Sirotkin, the French team has Oliver Rowland as development driver and test driver Nicholas Latifi, while many are still eyeing Robert Kubica who tested with the French outfit recently.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 16/06/2017 18:11

"Why else should Kubica test for Renault? "

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2. Posted by meatball, 16/06/2017 18:00

"Can't say I didn't see this coming."

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