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Jolyon Palmer

Abiteboul: A very substantial gap between Nico and Jolyon

Jolyon Palmer

Jolyon Palmer has a had a fair share of bad luck this season, but it is also clear that he is being thumped by Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg and the team is now demanding that the Englishman raise his game.

In an interview team chief Cyril Abiteboul declared, “No one is safe in F1. 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.”

“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.”

At the same time Abiteboul is adding to pressure by setting a timeline for Palmer to up his game, “I would hope that by the summer break I would be able to leave on holiday in sixth position in the championship.”

Hulkenberg has been delivering, he has 18 points while Palmer has zero, as Abiteboul explained, “There is a bigger picture for the team, for Renault, for our partners, but 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. We are discussing on a regular basis obviously with Jo to see how he can improve.”

Abiteboul is also sympathetic to bad luck that afflicted Palmer early on in the season, “The first thing we had to do was deliver him a weekend that was a clean weekend, and we did that in Monaco.”

“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,” warned the Renault chief.

Big Question: Does Jolyon deserve to be in F1?