Palmer eyes long-term future with Renault in F1

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Jolyon Palmer has set his sights on securing a long-term future with Renault in Formula 1 ahead of his debut in the series at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

Palmer joined Lotus F1 Team as its reserve driver for the 2015 season after winning the GP2 title the previous year, spending the year working under full-time racers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean.

After Grosjean confirmed he would be leaving to join Haas F1 Team for 2016, Lotus opted to move Palmer up into a race seat ahead of the new season when the team will become Renault following the manufacturer’s decision to takeover the Enstone-based operation.

Palmer may not have started a grand prix yet, but he is already setting his sights on a long-term future with the team.

“Next for me is to be with Renault long-term,” Palmer said.

“I think 2016 will be exciting. It won’t be the easiest year in a transition season but the long term potential is huge.

“I want to have a good year, show my best, and progress as a driver, and hopefully the team will keep me and we have a good car fighting for championships in the future.”

Palmer appeared in 13 practice sessions across the course of the 2015 season, and said that he learned plenty during a year that saw Lotus struggle off-track due to financial concerns ahead of the Renault buy-out.

“The year was very good for me,” Palmer said. “I learnt a huge amount and coming from GP2 into Formula 1 there was a lot to take in, certainly more than I expected!

“The way the team operates is the biggest difference, there’re so many involved in Formula 1. By being at the races and driving the car a lot it made for a big learning curve and I was rewarded with the drive for next year. Job done!

“My first year in Formula 1 and it was a hell of year for us as a team. It was challenging at times and it affected me as well as all in the team but everyone pulled together to get us on track and keep the car in the points. Everyone pulled together well as a team.”

Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

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