The future of Jolyon Palmer’s Formula 1 career is ‘in his own hands’ according to Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
Despite Palmer’s struggles during the 2017 season, the team maintain that they are open to retaining the Brit for another season if he manages to turn his performance around.
The former GP2 champion has scored no points this year, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg has 26 points and sits in tenth in the drivers’ championship.
Renault has admitted that it is considering a F1 comeback for Robert Kubica, having recently provided him with his first test in contemporary machinery since his life threatening rally accident in 2011.
Paddock gossip has also linked several current F1 drivers with the seat, including Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, as well as reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin and development driver Oliver Rowland.
“Frankly, if he manages to turn around the situation, which he did last year, we are completely open to a future between the team and Jo for one more season,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.
“Things could go his [Palmer’s] way, but at the end of the day that’s in his hands.
“He knows that right now he’s on a one-year contract and completely understands the team has to assess its options for the future.”
Throughout the summer, there has been speculation that Palmer could be replaced mid-season but Abiteboul has worked hard to reassure the driver that this is not the case.
‘We’ve seen very good things with Jo, both during the winter tests, during the season, during a session.
“At the same time there’s been a mix of mistakes, missed opportunities – clearly not assisted by circumstance with reliability that has been clearly weaker on his side of the garage.
“Very rapidly what this sort of mix has created is, I believe, a lack of confidence – a lack of confidence in himself, a lack of ability to put his head down in the difficulties that will encounter any driver in a race weekend or in a season.
“And that lack of confidence has started to kick off in a sort of snowball and has led to the situation we have now.
“I’m really trying to protect Jo and to confirm to Jo almost on a daily basis my and the team’s commitment and full support – in order to recreate the confidence in himself and in the team.”