Jolyon Palmer’s Formula One season got off to a dismal start as he was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix.
The Southwater driver had made a strong start from 19th on the grid, making four positions on the first lap.
But his Renault Sport car then suffered an intermittent brake issue which led to his retirement from the race on lap 15. His team-mate Nico Hülkenberg finished just shy of the points in 11th at Albert Park.
Palmer said: “My race was going well. I made places at the start despite being on the hardest tyre, my pace was pretty reasonable and I could see Nico and Esteban ahead of me. Unfortunately, my brakes stuck on at turn 14. We hoped it was just a glitch, but it happened again so we had no alternative other than to retire. It’s not been the start I wanted to my season, so we’ll put it down to experience and look forward to China.”
Managing director Cyril Abiteboul added: “This first Grand Prix of the season under these new regulations has delivered several lessons. Our race result highlights that we were not as well prepared as our opposition and our lack of mileage and preparation, both during pre-season testing and during this weekend, meant we suffered.
“We have learnt that in this new Formula 1 era everything needs to be perfectly executed, as it is very difficult to gain track position. We needed to be stronger at the start, in our execution of our strategy, in our pit stops and with our car set-up and balance.
“At every race, we should be in a position to fight for Q3 on Saturday and to fight for points on the Sunday. Looking forward, our first priority for Shanghai is to improve our reliability and from there we should be in a stronger position.”