SUZUKA: Renault will replace British driver Jolyon Palmer with Spaniard Carlos Sainz for the last four races of the Formula One season, the team said on Saturday.
Sainz was set to join from Toro Rosso at the end of the 2017 season anyway but Renault ended months of speculation over the struggling Briton at Suzuka by bringing the move forward.
Renault officials added that the decision was reached by mutual consent.
Palmer’s exit means a return to Toro Rosso for Russian Daniil Kvyat, who was recently axed in favour of French rookie Pierre Gasly.
“Jolyon has demonstrated strong commitment in a constantly evolving environment,” said Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul in a statement.
“He has always shown great human qualities and we wish him the best for the rest of his career.”
Sainz will come on board for the US Grand Prix in Austin, followed by races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“Tomorrow’s Japanese GP will be my last race for Renault,” Palmer wrote on Instagram.
“With my grid penalty I’ll be starting near the back but I will be giving it my all as always. Thanks everyone for the support during the last 2 years, it means a lot!”
He added: “My immediate focus is now on achieving the best possible result in the Japanese GP, and then I can assess my options for the future.”
Palmer has failed to make an impact at Renault, scoring just one point last season and striking out this year until a sixth-place finish in Singapore last month.
“Competing in these last four races with Renault gives me a good opportunity to get to know the team and the car earlier than expected,” said Sainz.
“Toro Rosso is made up of a fantastic group of people and I wish them only the best for the future.”--AFP