It isn’t really fair to give too harsh a critique to Jolyon Palmer for his first season in Formula One given the circumstances around the team, but he has been given a second chance to prove himself, this time alongside the highly acclaimed Nico Hulkenberg.
The first season at Renault could at best be described as ‘patchy’. There were times he was able to clearly be quicker than more experienced teammate Kevin Magnussen, but at other times struggled. It was difficult the first portion of the year, the car cobbled together quickly over the winter which proved a handicap.
He has proved that he can find the speed over time though, as shown in the four seasons he competed in the GP2 series, gaining positions each year until he won the championship in 2014, although nowhere near the domination shown by Stoffel Vandoorne a year later.
At a prized position in a ‘works’ team, it will be an interesting season for Palmer, as the team finds its feet again after years of funding shortages from the previous owners took a toll on the results.
There was only one points paying position last year at the United States Grand Prix, something which will need to be increased in 2017 in order for him to retain his drive, something which didn’t look likely at one point with Renault courting many drivers including Carlos Sainz Jr, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon amongst others.