Topgear.ie sources have indicated that Robert Kubica will replace Jolyon Palmer in a Friday test session in Monza. With Palmer under severe pressure to perform or leave and a successful test for Kubica in the 2012 F1 Renault earlier this month, the pressure is on for the no. 2 seat in Renault Sport F1.
The Renault team sits seventh in this season’s constructors’ championship, courtesy of the 18 points scored by Nico Hülkenberg, with Palmer yet to yield a result. Renault Sport F1’s race team manager Cyril Abiteboul gave a dire warning earlier this week, “There is Jo, and there is a second driver. Right now my focus is on Jo. Jo has to deliver”.
Palmer has some time remaining with which he can prove himself. Five more races, which include Baku, Austria, Britain, and Hungary and Spa before Kubica tests the 2017 spec car. The issue for the Polish driver will be the heavier handling, grippier and wider Renault. While he enjoyed the test in the 2012 car, this may pose issues for the recovering racer, who suffers poor mobility in his right arm following the Italian rally in 2011.
Interesting times for Renault, fans and Kubica. It will be interesting to see if Palmer can raise his game to score points for the team. The real measure will be if he can start out-perform teammate Nico Hülkenberg.