Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul thinks his former driver deserves a top opportunity in another series
In a bizarre move, Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul has found a voice of support for Jolyon Palmer that appears to be a result of being mind-wiped by one of those Men in Black memory sticks. Renault axed Palmer after 16 races in 2017 for the sensational Carlos Sainz, but Palmer’s points contribution in Singapore ended up being the difference between sixth and seventh in the constructors’ Standings.
Abiteboul seems to have a bit of a soft spot for Palmer though and thinks he deserves a top seat somewhere. He told Autosport:
“I think it’s fair to say Jo and his family are not in complete control of the next steps and their future. We did try to look at options, which I don’t want to detail publicly, but I don’t think Jonathan or Jo would challenge the fact we’ve been extremely helpful - the best we could Anything we can do to help Jo we will do, because I really think he deserves to be in a world class championship.”
The avenues we explored have not worked out so far, but we will see - Renault is a large family in motorsports, we have a number of activities, so we will see what the future can hold for everyone.”
Palmer wasn’t able to reach his potential in Formula 1, and was unlucky last season with a seriously poor run of reliability, but the nature in which he dealt with these difficult moments secured his demise. By criticising the mechanics that had to rebuild the car that he’d put into the walls in front of the cameras on a few occasions, Palmer would establish his legacy as a cornerstone F1 meme.
But let’s be fair, Renault couldn’t have offered Palmer a “world class drive” whilst he was with the team. The RS16 looked a handful to drive and it’s successor, last season’s RS17 didn’t exactly live up to pre-season expectations. 2017 ended up feeling like another season of steadily rebuilding, ready to mount a greater challenge this year.
One of the options supposedly on the table for Palmer is Formula E, although season four of this championship is already underway and it doesn’t look like there’ll be a seat for him anytime soon. Exactly what Palmer will end up doing in 2018 is unknown at the moment, but it looks like Abiteboul is feeling a little guilty about the cut-throat nature in which Palmer lost his seat - after all, he did find out by reading it online…