Jolyon Palmer bowed out of Renault and – for the time being at least – Formula 1 with a quiet run to 12th place in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
After almost two tough seasons with Renault that have yielded just two points finishes, Palmer announced on Saturday after qualifying he would be leaving the team at the end of the weekend, allowing it to complete the early signing of Carlos Sainz Jr. from Toro Rosso.
Palmer started 18th at Suzuka after a grid penalty for an engine change before making his way up the order thanks to a long first stint on the soft compound tire.
Palmer was unable to get in the fight for the final point with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, eventually crossing the line 12th to mark a point-less end to his time with Renault.
“We had a solid last race, we started from the back and with one more lap, I think we could have had 10th,” Palmer said.
“It’s been a tough season but the team and I have been through a lot, I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed it.
“I wish the team all the best in the future.”
Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul added: “Today was Jolyon’s last race. It was particularly challenging as he had to start near the back due to grid penalties, but thanks to a good strategy and a solid race, he was able to move up six positions and finish 12th.
“His performance is another demonstration of his professionalism and his loyalty, and a very good way to bid farewell to the Renault family. We sincerely wish him the best.”
While F1 seats are still free with Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber for 2018, Palmer is not thought to be in contention for them, leaving him on the sidelines in F1 for the time being.