Tuesday, August 29, 2017

1 Racing Mind's 2017 Formula 1 Summer Break Report Card: Renault Sport Formula One Team

Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images

Team Grade: C

Driver Grades
Nico Hulkenberg: B-
Jolyon Palmer: D+

Repurchasing their formerly-owned team late in 2015, Renault started the 2016 Formula 1 season behind the eightball. Through the entire 2016 tour, Renault Sport Formula One Team scored just eight points. 2017 has been accepted as another rebuilding year with a great deal of focus in collecting the pieces needed for better performances.

Joining Renault in 2017 was seasoned German pilot Nico Hulkenberg who brought a history of consistency with mid-marker teams in Formula 1. Hulkenberg has scored five finishes in the top-10 so far this season. The Renault race team only had three point-scoring finishes total in 2016 between both drivers. Second generation Formula 1 racer Jolyon Palmer returned to the second Renault R.S. 17. Palmer is still chasing his first point-scoring finish in a 2017 Formula 1 event.

The performance differential between the Renault Sport Formula One teammates has generally been wide. Nico Hulkenberg has proven not only to be better performing on Sunday but also shown the speed potential of the R.S. 17 in qualifying conditions. The German driver placed his Renault into the final Q3 session six times so far in 2017. Jolyon Palmer’s less than remarkable outings this season has resulted in only a few occasions where is placed higher than Hulkenberg. While most team-leading race finishes by Palmer were virtue of a retirement suffered by his teammate, he did out-place Hulkenberg at the Austrian Grand Prix while both Renault cars completed the event.  

Thoughts of Team for Remainder of 2017:

Nico Hulkenberg will likely continue being the primary breadwinner for the Renault team in 2017. Jolyon Palmer is undoubtedly eager to post points this season being one of only two regular drivers yet to register a point for 2017. It Palmer succeeds, it will only be his second time in his career. Renault’s history in Formula 1 leaves room for optimism heading forward through the remaining races of 2017 and beyond. Entering the sport in 1977 and returning in 2002 in the position as a constructor, Renault has twice been turned around into a front-running competitor after less successful opening seasons.

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