Jolyon Palmer reflects on final race weekend with Renault
With the Japanese Grand Prix being Jolyon Palmer's last race for Renault, the Briton has explained that it was sensible for him to part ways with the Enstone-based outfit to allow Carlos Sainz Jr to join the team for the remainder of 2017.
Palmer has had a difficult season and has been under constant pressure to deliver, with a number of sources claiming throughout the year that he would be replaced mid-season by Sainz.
It was confirmed last month at the Singapore Grand Prix that Palmer and Renault would be parting ways, with Sainz joining the team on a loan deal for the 2018 season. This deal was brought forward however, meaning that Palmer would not see out his season, despite being told that he would by Renault management.
"Carlos is signed for next year and Cyril [Abiteboul, the Renault team boss] made it clear he wanted to put him in the car this year as well," Palmer told Sky Sports F1 post-race.
"After this race there's a couple of weeks gap and it made sense for this time to be the time that we part ways.
"It's a shame for me not to finish the season having been with the team a while, but I respect the decision and I wish the team all the best for the future and Carlos the best. We go in separate ways and I'll work on something else in the future."
With the 2018 grid being nearly confirmed, it is unlikely that Palmer will be able to find a drive at another team, with Williams being the most likely option although both Paul di Resta and Robert Kubica have both been linked to Felipe Massa's seat, making him an outside option and a long shot.
"Obviously it's been a bit of a strange weekend knowing it was going to be my last race with the team, it's a shame I'm not going to Austin with them," Palmer added.
"When I'm heading back on the plane maybe it will sink in that I'm not driving for Renault again and maybe not in Formula 1 again."
When asked if the premature end to his season would bring any relief, the Briton replied: "I wouldn't say there's any relief. I would love to see out the season and finish what I started.
"The stress levels have been huge this year, it's been a very tough season for many reasons. Each weekend coming in with question marks. I would have happily seen out the season and I think the team is in a good place.
"It's a shame but I'll move on, there's plenty of life outside of F1 out there and I'm about to find out what it is," he concluded.