Saturday, 16 December, 2017

F1: Palmer confirms Renault F1 departure after Japanese GP

Carlos Sainz CRASHES during Japanese Grand Prix practice and faces grid penalty Sainz crash and heavy rain delay practice sessions in Japan // Suzuka weekend off to a difficult start for all
Spencer Simpson | 09 October, 2017, 00:33

Sainz has five races left with Toro Rosso this year before making a loan switch to Renault for 2018.

Sainz admitted his opening lap retirement was a "sad way to end" his tenure at Toro Rosso, explaining it was simply a result of taking a risk to try and make up ground early in the race.

In a post on his Instagram account on Saturday after qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, Palmer announced he would be leaving the team after the Suzuka weekend.

Sainz was due to join from Toro Rosso at the end of the season but Renault said in a statement that the team and Palmer had now agreed to end their relationship by mutual agreement after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Palmer's sixth place finish at last month's Singapore Grand Prix remains his only points scoring finish of 2017.

"When I'm heading back on the plane maybe it will sink in that I'm not driving for Renault again and maybe not in Formula 1 again".

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director, added: "I would like to thank Jolyon for his commitment to the team and his professionalism. He has shown great personal qualities and we wish him all the best in his future career". Toro Rosso is made up of a fantastic group of people and I wish them only the best for the future.

"I've been with them for three years and it's a shame not to be going to Austin with them".

"On my side, I will definitely do my very best in tomorrow's race - this would be the best possible send-off!" Heavy rain saw the start delayed and the teams working on their pit lane river rafts rather than the cars.

Palmer carried a 20-place grid penalty into his final race.

The Brit was going to be replaced by Carlos Sainz, but why hang around for the inevitable?

Palmer, a former GP2 champion, was a reserve driver with Lotus before landing a full-time race seat with the rebranded Renault in 2016.

But it was also the first official retirement at Suzuka for three years - stretching back to Jules Bianchi's tragic fatal accident in the wet during the 2014 race.

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