Will Jolyon Palmer be Replaced After the Monaco Grand Prix?

The British driver says he's ready to improve, and improve he'd better, or he will find himself out of a seat.

Jolyon Palmer, driver for Renault Sport F1 Team, may be facing his last chance to impress in the world of Formula 1. The Brit has not made F1 look like an everyman’s sport, with plenty of crashes in his 2017 season making him appear to both onlookers and competitors as woefully under-qualified. In spite of his rocky 2017, Palmer says he is ready to improve, and that his poor performance has been an amalgamation of many factors, some of which were beyond his control, though he has acknowledged he is partially complicit in his underperformance, stating, “last year, generally, the performance [deficit] was a lot more in myself, I think.”

If Dutch Formula 1 outlet is correct, though, Palmer does not have the rest of the season to get his act together. Instead, if Jolyon falls short of Renault’s expectations for this race weekend, he can kiss his seat in the RS17 goodbye. His chances are looking poor already, as he managed only eight laps during Free Practice 2 today before his engine breathed its last. He only got within three quarters of a second of his teammate Nico Hülkenberg during that practice session, though he did only complete eight laps to Nico’s 40. Regardless, with so much practice time stolen from him by mechanical failure this weekend, he may as well build himself a bright yellow coffin in which to lay his career to rest.

All the talk of replacement calls to mind the question: who would receive his seat? The most probable candidate is Renault’s current development driver, Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian driver has a junior history that includes race wins in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2, though he has not won any feeder series championships since he raced in the 2011 Formula Abarth European Series. Given he is one of the only available drivers with an FIA Superlicense, he may be Renault’s only choice. Regardless, Sirotkin may this next week receive the call he has awaited his whole life: an invitation into Formula 1.