Jolyon Palmer expects Renault’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix efforts to be ‘kerbed’

Britain’s Jolyon Palmer has explained how Renault may struggle in particular this weekend at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Jolyon Palmer during Friday's practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Lars Baron / Getty Images
Jolyon Palmer during Friday's practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Lars Baron / Getty Images

Britain’s Jolyon Palmer has explained how Renault may struggle in particular this weekend at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Palmer and Danish teammate Kevin Magnussen have rarely been in the competitive mix this season, with just eight points between them — one for the Briton for finishing 10th in Malaysia.

That was the case again on Friday, as Palmer was 15th fastest in second practice, setting a best lap of 1m 43.272s. Magnussen was nearly a second slower.

Renault, returning to F1 this season after taking over the Lotus team set-up, had to make “compromises” in fashioning last year’s car for the 2016 campaign, as Palmer put it.

Those compromises have made it particularly ill-suited for Abu Dhabi.

More Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

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“I would say this track is harder to drive than some of the others because there’s a lot of stuff that’s like a street circuit,” Palmer said on Friday after the first two practice sessions. “If you look at a lot of the other guys, they’re using a lot more kerb than us and we’re really struggling at the kerbs.

“I mean sure in some corners we got a lot of understeer, we can’t turn it, but that’s a balance and you can drive around that. It’s always when you’re pushing the limits to be quicker in the last sector, I think you need to be able to take a bit of kerbs.”

Palmer said the car’s inability to take those kerbs quite as cleanly as other cars leaves the Renault at a disadvantage that compounds itself over the course of the race.

“I think we experience probably more inconsistent car behaviour, car balance, car issues, than a Red Bull or Mercedes might do because I’m sure they get more downforce, better on kerbs, they’re working within a smaller window,” Palmer said.

“But we’re trying to get the most out of what we’ve got, which is clearly less than what they’ve got. But we’re still trying to get a car around as quick as we can around the track.

“What we’ve got ... is exactly the same as we’ve had last few races, it doesn’t change, just like I said this track is more difficult for us I think because of the nature, some combination of corners and taking the kerbs which is the biggest thing.”

Palmer added that the team were still formulating their strategy for Sunday’s race.

“Sometimes we’ve got to take the kerbs in, [Turns] 5-6 you have to take the kerbs otherwise you are losing too much time, just when we take it then it’s unsettling our car more than other cars so maybe the car has a small transitional moment coming over the kerb whereas the others you don’t even notice you go over the kerb, you just go.

“So it’s a really subtle difference but it’s that sort of thing that adds up.

“Sometimes it’s quicker still to take them even though we’re not riding them well, sometimes it’s quicker not to, because we sort of figured that out on Friday, because we don’t really know.

“These are the compromises you need to work out, but if we do take them then probably we’re losing time on them compared to more compliant cars.”

For more from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, including exclusive interviews, information guides, videos and much more, visit our dedicated microsite.

jraymond@thenational.ae

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Published: November 26, 2016 04:00 AM

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