Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul “made it clear” that he wanted Carlos Sainz to replace Jolyon Palmer before the end of the 2017 Formula 1 season, Jolyon Palmer has admitted.
The Japanese Grand Prix was Palmer’s last race with Renault – with a high likelihood that the British driver may not return to Formula 1 after struggling this year – and the team have confirmed Carlos Sainz will make the switch from Toro Rosso to Renault for the US Grand Prix, which takes place in Austin, Texas in under two weeks.
As F1 Hub reported in early September, amid the McLaren/Renault deals, Carlos Sainz was used as a bargaining power, and it was agreed that he will be lended by Red Bull to Renault for 2018, and could be released during the latter stages of the 2017 season. The initial plan was to make the swap during the Malaysian GP, however Palmer needed to agree — potentially by a compensation from Renault — to leave the outfit before Sepang.
Palmer has now revealed that Abiteboul “made it clear” that the Sainz/Palmer switch should happen during the 2017 season to help Renault outscore its midfield F1 rivals – which could be worth a lot of money if they can beat their rivals in the constructors’ championship – which hints that Renault entered further negotiations with Palmer following his claims in Singapore that he will see the checkered flag of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi with Renault.
“It’s been a bit of a strange weekend knowing it’s the last with the team after three years, shame not going to Austin,” Palmer told Sky Sports after completing his final F1 race with Renault.
“It’s been pretty clear, Carlos has signed for next year and Cyril [Abiteboul] made it clear he wanted him in the car this year as well.
“After this race it’s a couple of weeks’ gap and it made sense for it to be the time to part ways.
“It’s a shame for me not to finish the season, I’ve been here a while and I respect the decision and wish Carlos and the team all the best for the future.”