Pushed-out Palmer concedes he may not race in Formula One again after early exit at Renault

Picture by Renault Sport
Picture by Renault Sport

Jolyon Palmer has conceded he may never race in Formula One again after leaving Renault Sport in the wake of the weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

The news that the Southwater driver would be leaving the team after Sunday's race broke on Friday with the team making clear they wanted new recruit Carlos Sainz in their car.

Picture by Renault Sport

Picture by Renault Sport

Renault said the departure with Palmer was by 'mutual consent' with Sainz now driving for the team for the remaining four races of 2017, starting at Austin on October 22.

The Spanish racer had been confirmed last month as the team's partner to Nico Hulkenburg for 2018, with Palmer making way.

The 26-year-old had constantly said he would see out his contract and finish the season, but that will no longer be case with Renault pushing for Sainz to take over.

In his two seasons in the sport, Palmer has achieved 35 races starts, including a career-best finish of sixth place three weeks ago in Singapore - his only points of this season.

He concluded with 12th-place finish at Suzuka, making sixth positions from his start on the grid, while Hülkenberg - after running as high as fifth - was forced to retire when a component on his DRS mechanism failed.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Palmer said: "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.

"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.

"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."

On the decision to leave the team early, Palmer added: "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.

"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."

After the final race, Abiteboul commented: "Jolyon's performance is another demonstration of his professionalism and his loyalty, and a very good way to bid farewell to the Renault family. We sincerely wish him the best."