Palmer’s ‘disastrous’ testing, are expectations correct?

Renault’s second test of the pre-season for Formula 1 hasn’t been all blue sky and birds. While Kevin Magnussen has pounded out over 500 laps in his sessions, Jolyon Palmer has been stricken with issues that have prevented any serious mileage leaving the rookie driver a bit perplexed:

“It’s been a little disastrous,” Palmer said. “I didn’t even manage 200 laps over three days.

“It’s not what you want when you’re rookie and you want to turn up to Melbourne and do a good job.

“The baseline car at least is reasonable. We’ll keep working.”

Fair enough, the young driver would like to put in some serious seat time and that’s understandable.

In my mind, it really is about expectations. What are Renault’s expectations having waited so long to secure the Lotus F1 team’s assets and inheriting their 2016 car design? Sure, the Enstone folks are now wearing Renault logos and it would have been the same had Renault acquired the Lotus team back in September but Renault has differing level of resources that could have come in to play much earlier on if they had done the deal earlier in the season.

For the drivers, what are their expectations? To run trouble-free must be one of the, as Jolyon bemoans, but realistically, what was the result of this test session, and the 2016 season for that fact, going to produce?

In many ways, I’m not one to judge their internal expectations but I can tell you that my own expectations for the team is a season of acquired progress meaning the acquisition of resources and talent now needs to be progressively gelled into a Renault racing team. In my mind, it will take a season to get settled and start looking to car development and gains with engine performance as well as the 2017 spec car.

Magnussen and Palmer can only help in that process so other than any on-track lunacy from either driver, their efforts will be noble but perhaps not podium-winning results and I think that’s perfectly understandable.

In short, the team could be focusing on mid-field performance and I would suggest that the result would be a welcome sight for a team who just recently got new owners with a fat checkbook.


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like I said on twitter, seems like Palmer is a bit of a Millennial, in that he expects the team to support him, rather than he support the team…