Sport Palmer gets full commitment from Renault to improve

20:21  19 may  2017
20:21  19 may  2017 Source:   Read Sport

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Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul has reaffirmed the team is fully committed to helping Jolyon Palmer rediscover his form after a frustrating start to the 2017 season.

After a strong finish to his first season in 2016, Palmer looked to have found his feet in Formula 1, regularly beating former team-mate Kevin Magnussen in the latter half of the season.

Unfortunately, the Briton has not had the opportunity to carry that form into 2017, with technical issues causing missed track time and an unpredictable setup window for the RS17, it has been difficult to complete a smooth race weekend.

When asked by if there was any explanation for the decline in form, Abiteboul replied: “No. I think during the weekend, he had on occasion glimpses of a good performing package overall.

Heidfeld hoping for Paris podium

  Heidfeld hoping for Paris podium Nick Heidfeld is hoping to challenge points leaders Renault e.dams in Paris. The Mahindra driver recovered from two back-to-back pointless races to take third in Monaco, and hopes Paris will produce another podium. “What is interesting for us and most other teams is that Renault struggled a bit more here last season than anywhere else,” Heidfeld told Read Motorsport. “So hopefully we have a chance to fight them and go for a podium here.” Mahindra is currently third in the championship and, having taken more podiums than any other team besides Abt Audi Sport and Renault, seems best placed if either of the top teams run into trouble. But Renault wasn’t the only team to struggle in Paris last year. “Last year, some teams have more problems here to heat up the tyres,” Heidfeld said. “Unfortunately we were among those, so I hope that we understood and improved a bit.” The warmer temperatures and new tyres mean nobody knows for sure how the tyres will act, but it’s a factor many drivers believe could be important tomorrow.

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“A combination of the car, the set-up, the balance and himself driving we could see that and again in particular in qualifying.

“But I think it’s in general on Saturday, that’s the issue, we put the car on the Tarmac, it immediately works and some of the times you put it on the Tarmac and it doesn’t work and you have not changed a lot.

“On Saturday, he was not happy in the morning. Going into qualifying it was not better and on Sunday it didn’t improve. We have to look into that – we are committed to make this work.

“But you know – that’s five races into the season, so we also have more statistics to understand what is working and what is not working.”

David Ramos/Getty Images Sport © David Ramos/Getty Images Sport David Ramos/Getty Images Sport

Palmer mentioned he felt good in latter stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, but is keen to get his head down with the next race around the streets of Monte Carlo.

Heidfeld hoping for Paris podium

  Heidfeld hoping for Paris podium Nick Heidfeld is hoping to challenge points leaders Renault e.dams in Paris. The Mahindra driver recovered from two back-to-back pointless races to take third in Monaco, and hopes Paris will produce another podium. “What is interesting for us and most other teams is that Renault struggled a bit more here last season than anywhere else,” Heidfeld told Read Motorsport. “So hopefully we have a chance to fight them and go for a podium here.” Mahindra is currently third in the championship and, having taken more podiums than any other team besides Abt Audi Sport and Renault, seems best placed if either of the top teams run into trouble. But Renault wasn’t the only team to struggle in Paris last year. “Last year, some teams have more problems here to heat up the tyres,” Heidfeld said. “Unfortunately we were among those, so I hope that we understood and improved a bit.” The warmer temperatures and new tyres mean nobody knows for sure how the tyres will act, but it’s a factor many drivers believe could be important tomorrow.

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“I wasn’t able to get the pace out of the car when it was needed, however, we were going better on the final set of tyres,” Palmer said.

“My job now is to sit down with my engineers and analyse the race while we also have a good look at the car too. I’m determined that we will do better in Monaco.”

Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying © David Ramos/Getty Images Sport Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying

How weak second drivers are shaping the midfield battle .
Already five races into the 2017 season, the battle in the midfield is as fierce as ever, but poor performances from some drivers are already handicapping teams heading into the European leg of the calendar. Beyond the leading protagonists of Mercedes and Ferrari, the battle in the midfield has intensified with Sauber’s demonstration that any team is capable of scoring points. The role of the second driver has now become even more important in the battle in the constructors’ championship to score consistent points. Pascal Wehrlein drove an outstanding race to what was eventually eighth, demoted from seventh after gaining a penalty for a late entry into the pitlane for his one and only pitstop. They are valuable points for Sauber as they creep above McLaren in the constructors’ championship, as they struggle with their Honda power unit. In this tight battle every point matters, and currently two teams within the midfield battle are handicapped by subpar performances from their second driver, notably Williams and Renault. Both have experienced hands at the wheel of their leading car, bringing home the only points and putting them at a disadvantage to Force India who consistently has both cars in the points. It was a difficult race for Williams in Barcelona, Felipe Massa compromised by a clash with Fernando Alonso in the first corner, and Lance Stroll who was comprised by a poor qualifying session leaving him languishing at the back of the grid.

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