Jolyon Palmer feels he is in the best place to impress the F1 fraternity in 2017 with a Renault team he expects to make a 'big step' forward next season.
Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix Renault confirmed it had re-signed Palmer to race alongside Nico Hulkenberg in 2017, ending months of speculation about who would join the French manufacturer.
Returning to F1 as a constructor after several seasons focusing on an engine supply role, Renault has nonetheless endured a tough 2016 campaign with Palmer and Kevin Magnussen but is expected to make a step forward in 2017 on the back of increased investment and the completion of a major restructuring behind-the-scenes.
With this in mind, Palmer – who scored his first F1 point in the Malaysian Grand Prix – feels he is ideally positioned to capitalise on what he expects will be a more competitive project that will raise his profile.
“This year was a great chance to show what I can do,” he said. “I was on a one year deal, and the car was not fantastic this year. So the objective for me clearly at the start of the year was to be with Renault next year. And now I have done that, I am sure that the team is going to move forward from now on.
“I have showed what I can do in F1 already, so now I am setting my sights higher and I want to be the best I can, I want to be on the podium for the first time, win a race. So what you say is right, and also I am in the best place to do it because the team is growing as much as I am, and next year is going to be a big step. And a big step for me again. I hope that I can achieved some of those milestones sooner rather than later.”
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Though it became apparent that Palmer's retention was only made possible because current team-mate Magnussen turned down an offer in favour of a Haas move, Palmer nonetheless feels Renault is committed to incorporating him into their long-term plans with next year's change in regulations.
“I have new teammate, new regs, so there is a lot of change but I know the team really well. Renault had the faith in me this year, so it is a good start to build up a long-term; well we are already in the second year working together, so they know me much better than at the start of this year.
“We are not starting from scratch, and we should be in a much better position with the car to hopefully be scoring some regular points and hopefully I can continue the progress in the future.”
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