After staying with Renault for a second consecutive season in 2017, Jolyon Palmer is a man who is coming under a more and more pressure to deliver in Formula 1. So far in 2017, Palmer has been outclassed by his team mate, Nico Hulkenberg, who joined the team from Force India to take the place of Kevin Magnussen.
In the first six races of the year, Palmer has been out-qualified by Hulkenberg in all of them, with his best result in qualifying coming at the Bahrain Grand Prix where he got into Q3 for the first time in his career, only to end the session nearly 1.3 seconds slower than Hulkenberg.
On race day, the story is much the same, with Palmer failing to finish inside the points in any of the first six races of 2017 as opposed to Hulkenberg who has secured 14 points so far this season in an identical car.
Although reliability has played a part in Palmer’s performance this season, the British driver has not helped the situation in many instances, crashing in FP2 in Australia, Qualifying in Russia, and being involved in a first lap accident at the Russian Grand Prix with Romain Grosjean in the second corner.
Last time out in Monaco, Palmer did have an encouraging result by finishing in 11th around a circuit that he has traditionally run well at, having won there in 2012 and in 2014 in the GP2 Series. Although this is Palmer’s highest finish of 2017 so far and his second highest finishing position in his career, results and points finishes need to come soon if the driver wants to hold onto his seat.
Over the past week, multiple drivers have been linked to Palmer’s seat, with Sergio Perez not only being linked to the seat for 2018 but apparently to replace Palmer this season. As the Mexican driver is in contact with Force India until the end of 2017 however, a mid-season move does not look probable. If Palmer is to be replaced at Renault, it will most likely be by Sergey Sirotkin who is Renault’s reserve driver.
As Formula 1 heads to Canada for the seventh round of the 2017 season, all eyes will be on Jolyon Palmer to see if he can deliver greater performances for Renault as the fight for his Formula 1 future begins, with Cyril Abiteboul expecting “two drivers who are able to score points” and deliver results for Renault - something that Palmer is currently failing to do.