It was an emotional day at the Suzuka International Circuit as Renault Sport Formula One Team bid a fond farewell to driver Jolyon Palmer.
The Briton drove a strong race, gaining six positions in the Japanese Grand Prix to finish 12th at Suzuka. Enstone team-mate Nico Hülkenberg was running as high as fifth but was forced to retire when a component on his DRS mechanism failed.
I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed itRenault F1 Sport driver Jolyon Palmer
Palmer will be replace by Carlos Sainz junior for the remaining four races.
Palmer said: “We had a solid last race, we started from the back and with one more lap, I think we could have had tenth.
“It’s been a tough season but the team and I have been through a lot, I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed it, I wish the team all the best in the future.”
Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “It was particularly challenging as Jolyon had to start near the back due to grid penalties. But thanks to a good strategy and a solid race, he was able to move up six position and finish 11th.
“His performance is another demonstration of his professionalism and his loyalty and a very good way to bid farewell to the Renault family. We sincerely wish him the best.
“Nico was also having a strong race, he was in a good position to move up, we had to retire the car. It is very frustrating as reliability has been our weakness this season.
“We’ve had disappointing back to back races without any points.”
Hülkenberg added: “That was frustrating as a good points haul was possible. It’s a shame but a small metal component broke on the DRS mechanism which left it stuck open.
“We’ll look at why it broke as we missed a good opportunity. I’m sure we can fight back.”