Jolyon Palmer: Renault’s hands no longer tied by Lotus problems

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Jolyon Palmer is confident that Renault can enjoy a stronger Formula 1 campaign in 2017 now that it is no longer tied down by the problems of the old Lotus team.

Renault returned to F1 as a constructor in 2016 after taking over the financially-ailing Lotus squad, with last year’s focus being on rebuilding the operation as opposed to outright performance on-track.

Renault finished the year a lowly ninth in the constructors’ championship, with Palmer picking up just a single point during his debut season.

Despite losing team principal Frederic Vasseur over the winter, Palmer is confident that Renault can be stronger in 2017 now that the shackles of Lotus’ problems have been shaken off.

“Fred left, which was a shame, but we’ve still got Cyril [Abiteboul], Jerome Stroll as well, so these guys have run Formula 1 teams and been very senior in Renault,” Palmer told Sky Sports.

“So we’re still in very good hands and in a way things are maybe a little bit simpler now. The feeling in the team is this is a year where we can actually do something.

“Last year we had our hands tied a little bit from the problems with Lotus, this year it’s a proper Renault stamp on everything.

“We’ve still got some great people in the team, people who have won races and even won championships with Renault before, so everyone is super excited to get going and see if we can get back towards that.”

Palmer will return for his sophomore F1 season with Renault in 2017, and is upbeat about his chances.

“I’m with a manufacturer team, a team that I believe is going places, and even if I didn’t show last year I’m sure that the results will come,” Palmer said.

“I’m in a much better position stood here now and I’m looking forward to 2017.”