Renault driver Jolyon Palmer has been told he must deliver if he is to stay with the team next year.
The British driver joined the Renault squad in 2016 and has struggled to perform since. His best place so far this season is 11th in Monaco and Canada whereas team mate Hulkenebrg has scored all the teams 18 points so far.
When asked about the situation Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul said: “No one is safe in F1.
“F1 is not an environment where anyone can say loudly, ‘I’m safe’. To a certain degree there are two questions. There is Jo, and there is a second driver. Right now my focus is on Jo. Jo has to deliver.
“What would happen then, I don’t want to elaborate on that, and even further, who would be stepping in, because that’s absolutely not the point for today.
“The fact is that Jo has a car which is a point-scoring car, and he has to enter into the points. Full stop.”
Regarding a deadline for Palmer to start performing he said he would be happy to go on holiday during the summer break 6th in the standings (they are currently 7th, 4 points behind Williams). And that it was ‘unfair’ for Hulkenberg to have the pressure of scoring all the teams points.
“There is a bigger picture for the team, for Renault, for our partners, but also for the two guys racing the car,” Abiteboul added.
“Right now I feel that it’s a bit almost unfair to Nico, who has to do a lot. The team is clearly very dependent on him.
“You could see that in Monaco. When Nico is out of the game, including for reasons beyond his control like when he had his gearbox failure, we struggle to finish in the points, despite a number of cars that were also not finishing the race. It’s a challenge.
“We see that there is a very substantial gap between Nico and Jo in qualifying, and in the race. We are discussing on a regular basis obviously with Jo to see how he can improve.”
This comes just days after Robert Kubica completed a test in the 2012 Lotus-Renault car. With Renault saying that ‘the pace is there’ for the Pole to return to F1.