Britain's Jolyon Palmer believes his rate of progress and his recent form was key to securing his new deal with Renault for 2017.
Palmer, who was confirmed by the Enstone-outfit on Wednesday
, has inked a one-year deal to stay with the squad linking up with the incoming Nico Hulkenberg. Current team-mate Kevin Magnussen is expected to join Haas having turned down an offer to stay.
“I discovered Thursday after Mexico [that Renault would be retaining me]. I was on the beach in Miami, so it was quite a sweet moment actually. I got the call from Fred [Vasseur, team principal] who said it was decided. I am absolutely delighted,” Palmer told reporters at Interlagos prior to this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round in the F1 2016 World Championship.
“The deciding factor I think has been my rate of progress, recent form obviously, working hard with the team, putting in a lot of hours at the factory as well. The rest is up to him, but clearly recent form is one of the biggest things, and it has been getting better and better.”
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Asked if he feared the worse when the phone rang, given he has had a tricky season and has only scored one point, Palmer replied: “No, but I didn't know either way. I thought it would be between me and Kev. [But] my recent form has been stronger, in the second half of the year and especially in Mexico I did a better race. I felt off the back of all these things there was a chance there, but of course you never really know what is in the minds of the decision makers.
“It was a really good feeling because I have been a little bit in the dark. You know roughly but you never really know exactly what is going on.”
Palmer did concede, however, that he was worried about the future, particularly in the early part of the season.
“Never say never, but there were some times when it was looking not so good. Monaco was a tough weekend, crashing out right at the start of that after a tricky weekend was not the most pleasant experience. But it was race 6 out of a 21 race season, so that was back in May,” he continued.
“Since then I really turned a page anyway. If you look at my season that was clearly a moment where I put that behind me and the rest of the season since then has been much stronger and getting even better every race. The season is long, 21 races, 6 races down and I was like, right, I have got 15 races to make a difference. And basically set about [doing] that.”
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