Getty Images

Renault working to rebuild Palmer’s confidence after slow start to season

Leave a comment

Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul says the team is working to help rebuild Jolyon Palmer’s confidence after a point-less start to the 2017 season.

2014 GP2 Series champion Palmer made his F1 debut with Renault last year, taking one point through his rookie season as the team struggled for pace towards the back of the field.

Palmer was retained for 2017 alongside new teammate Nico Hulkenberg, but has failed to enjoy an upturn in fortunes, enduring a luckless run of form to start the year.

A miserable weekend in Australia full of setbacks ended in retirement before runs to P13 in China and Bahrain, while the Briton was eliminated in Russia at the first corner after a clash with Romain Grosjean.

“We’ve been through what has happened since the start of the season, including the winter test, when we were in Barcelona and he already had difficult conditions to deal with,” Abiteboul said of Palmer.

“Limited mileage over the winter, a number of reliability issues in preparation for the first four races, which has not been helpful, and clearly he has a very talented team-mate, which is clearly showing what the car is capable of.

“But having said, Nico is not a magician, and that’s what I’m telling [Palmer]. He has shown that on occasion he has definitely the pace to match his team-mate, so it is on that we are focusing.

“We are making sure that he now has a clean weekend so that he can build his confidence, that we can rebuild his confidence in himself.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.