Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr has become the latest name to be linked with Jolyon Palmer’s increasingly insecure seat at Renault, according to reports coming out of Silverstone this weekend.
Palmer, who is in his second season with the Renault team, has failed to score a point across the first nine races of the 2017 season, whilst new teammate Nico Hulkenburg has recorded 18 points so far. Following a difficult first season, where the British driver managed just 1 solitary point, the poor start to this campaign has seen many rumours suggesting his time at the team – and perhaps in F1 – is coming to an end, with Robert Kubica linked with a sensational return to F1 to replace him, though Renault are refusing to speculate on this. On Channel 4’s Qualifying coverage yesterday, Eddie Jordan suggested Pascal Wehrlein could replace Palmer before the Belgian GP, with Palmer headed the other way to Sauber.
However, with Sainz becoming increasingly frustrated with the slim prospects of a Red Bull seat materialising for 2018, it appears that his relationship with Red Bull has become strained beyond repair, with Bild suggesting that Renault has signed a deal to release Sainz from his Red Bull/Toro Rosso contract, and could replace Palmer as early as the next round in Hungary, and would give Renault the formidable driver lineup they have been aiming for ever since their (second) takeover of the Enstone team in 2016.
With Sainz exiting Toro Rosso, the obvious replacement for the Spaniard at Toro Rosso would be the 2016 GP2 champion, Pierre Gasly, who is currently in New York deputising for Sebastian Buemi (for Renault e.dams, ironically) at the New York ePrix, whilst he has also been competing in Japan’s Super Formula series.
Whether this move occurs or not, however, it would take a brave man to predict that Palmer will stay ar Renault for the 2018 season.