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Palmer: Speculation about F1 future ‘nothing new’

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Jolyon Palmer says he is taking no notice of speculation about his Formula 1 future with Renault, instead preferring to focus on improving his displays and ending his point-less start to the year.

2014 GP2 champion Palmer stepped up to F1 with Renault last year, but scored just a single point throughout his rookie campaign courtesy of a P10 finish in Malaysia.

Palmer was retained for 2017 alongside Nico Hulkenberg, who has already racked up 14 points for Renault, with the Briton yet to contribute to this haul.

Speculation has been bubbling in recent weeks that Renault could replace Palmer mid-season, with development driver Sergey Sirotkin and recent F1 racer Felipe Nasr linked to the seat.

When asked if he felt under more pressure due to the speculation, Palmer said the only problems could be self-induced as he takes no notice of the rumors.

“What puts pressure on is not putting in good performances,” Palmer said.

“I’m aware that the start of the year has been pretty disappointing. I’m working hard and I’m ready to turn it around.

“In terms of the rumors, there’s been rumors since my third ever race in Formula 1, so there’s nothing new for me.

“Of course the way to stop it is to do well on-track and hopefully I can do that this weekend.”

Palmer picked up his best result of the F1 season so far in Monaco last time out, finishing 11th, which offered him a lift after a rough start to the year.

“It is a confidence boost. Obviously it’s been a very tough start to the year, but there’s been some positives recently, even if it doesn’t necessarily show on the results sheet,” Palmer said.

“But Monaco at least yeah, a race distance and we were pretty competitive in terms of times as well. But obviously when you start 16th, it’s difficult to make any overtakes or do much else, running around in the traffic.

“But at least with a better pace and we could take a bit of confidence in here.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.