Jolyon Palmer has announced the Japan Grand Prix will be his last for Renault, via his Instagram page.
The British driver posted a picture of himself on his social media account applauding the F1 crowd with the message: “Tomorrow’s Japanese GP will be my last race for Renault… Thanks everyone for the support during the last 2 years, it means a lot!”
Renault have been reportedly trying to offer a payout to Palmer for him to vacate his seat before the end of the season but he has refused all propositions on the table in favour of retaining control until he felt it was the right time to leave for everyone involved.
With the signing of Carlos Sainz already agreed for the 2018 season, it has really added pressure to the British driver this season.
Palmer did not finish at the Australian, Russian, Azerbaijan and Italian Grands Prix and also failed to start in the British Grand Prix after a hydraulic failure on the formation lap, which he admitted left him 'gutted'.
With a sixth place finish (career-best) in Singapore securing the only points he has scored this season, it’s not hard to see why Jolyon Palmer might need some time off.
HOW DOES THIS LEAVE RENAULT FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON?
With Palmer’s departure imminent following tomorrow’s GP, Renault will turn to ex-Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz four races prior to his originally agreed start date.
Sainz will now race alongside Nico Hulkenberg in Renault colours for the rest of the year, granting him extra time to get familiar with the setup at the French manufacturers ahead of 2018 campaign.
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said: "On behalf of everyone at Toro Rosso, I wish him [Sainz] all the very best with his new team.”
Sainz will be replaced by old teammate Dani Kvyat for the rest of the season at Toro Rosso.
WHERE NEXT FOR PALMER?
A few have speculated that Palmer is looking towards the vacant seat at Williams to partner Lance Stroll whilst the ongoing debate between an in-house successor of either Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica rumbles on. However, Palmer insists leaving the F1 Renault outfit is simply to, “assess my options for the future."
However, Palmer insists leaving Renault will give him the chance to 'assess' his options for the future.