Jolyon Palmer has won the fight to secure the second Renault Formula 1 seat for 2017, multiple sources have revealed, with an announcement expected before the Brazilian Grand Prix.
With Formula 1’s driver market ramping up on the eve of the penultimate race of the season, Palmer’s confirmation that he is staying at Enstone is expected to trigger other moves – including Kevin Magnussen’s switch to Haas and Esteban Ocon’s move to Force India.
Neither Renault nor Palmer were available for comment about the matter, but it is understood that recent strong performances from the Briton have won over the French car manufacturer’s senior management about his potential for 2017.
Renault recently announced that it had signed Nico Hulkenberg for next year, and has spent recent weeks evaluating options for the second car.
While targets Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas proved unavailable, in the end Palmer’s progress over the second half of the campaign has left it confident he can deliver even more next season.
Speaking at the Mexican Grand Prix, team principal Fred Vasseur said that finding the right driver was ‘crucial’ for the team, which is why the outfit had taken its time.
When asked by Motorsport.com about how tough the decision was, he said: “It is not tough. It is a crucial choice for the team and the project.
“We did a good move with Nico but we need to have a strong line-up because if we want to improve, we need to have a good evaluation in the team.
“If you look at all the teams on the first part of the grid, they have two strong drivers and they push each other forward, so we need to create this kind of atmosphere.
“The second driver is crucial one. Our target is not just to have one good driver.”