Palmer: I'm out... that's Formula One


Though Renault may have fallen behind Haas in the constructors' standings following yesterday's Japanese Grand Prix, and might yet find itself under pressure from McLaren, there is one area in which the French team clearly excels.

The team which previously brought us Crashgate, not to mention all manner of questionable devices, still has a propensity for being economical with the truth.

Be it the denial that Robert Kubica was to test for the team, it's denial that a decision has been taken on Red Bull's engine supply - or lack of it - for 2019, the poaching of Marci Budkowski and now the decision to let Jolyon Palmer go with four races remaining, the French outfit still shows the sort of Machiavellian spirit so obvious under Flavio Briatore's rule at Enstone.

Behind the fast talk and the smirk, Cyril Abiteboul has shown that if ever playing Poker with him, one should do the complete opposite of what he suggests and completely ignore the wide-eyed ‘who me, as if' look.

Despite the denials, Palmer is out of a job with four races remaining, and while others might have thrown a hissy fit and given the media the 'full story' or even walked away ahead of yesterday's race, the Briton did the British thing, he put on a brave face and got on with it.

Of course, Palmer hasn't helped himself. Despite the bad luck and poor reliability, the fact is that not once this season has he out-qualified his teammate, a statistic that no other driver can point to this season, or would want to.

Sadly, it seems that Palmer is one of those drivers who looks good all the way up the motorsport ladder until he reaches the final hurdle, F1, just ask Kevin Magnussen's Dad.

Yesterday, knowing that Suzuka was to be his last race, Palmer refused to blame his team, his luck or the world in general and appeared to accept that his fate is the nature of the beast that is F1.

"I‘m out and that's Formula One," he told Sky Sports. "These things happen. It's a shame but I'll move on. There's plenty to life out there and I‘m about to find out what it is.

"I‘m feeling alright," he insisted. "I respect the decision and wish the team still the best for the future, Carlos the best and we go our separate ways.

"The stress levels have been pretty huge this year," he admitted, perhaps signalling that a huge weight has been removed. "It's been a very tough season for many reasons, and each weekend turning up with some question marks, with the pressure coming on more and more as the season hasn't unfolded like we'd hoped.

"When I‘m sat on the plane on the way back home, probably it will sink in that certainly I won't be driving for Renault again and maybe not in Formula One again," he said.

While one fully understands an F1 team's need to have both its drivers scoring points, both pushing one another, it is the way this has been handled, the half-truths, that really grate. For though he didn't reveal anything, the decision to drop him and replace him with Sainz is not the work of a moment, this has been planned for some time.

Probably about the same time the team approached the head of the FIA's Formula One Technical Department to ask if he fancied a job.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Suzuka, here.

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Published: 09/10/2017
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