HUNGARORING -- Jolyon Palmer is confident he will keep his Renault seat after the Hungarian Grand Prix despite increasing speculation of a return for Robert Kubica.
Kubica is set to test for Renault at the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test at the Hungaroring, following two private outings with the team this year. The Polish driver had not driven an F1 car since 2011's first pre-season test, which took place just before he nearly lost his right arm in a horrific rally crash.
Renault has been impressed with Kubica's outings so far and there have been suggestions in the media he will return full-time for 2018. Some reports have stated that if next week's test goes well Renault would consider putting him in the car as early as the next race in Belgium, which follows August's summer break, but Palmer has no doubts the seat will still be his.
When asked about whether reassurances from Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul made him feel comfortable going into the summer break, he said: "Yeah, of course, it's my boss telling me they're not planning on putting Kubica in the car [full-time]. For me nothing changes. He called me to tell me Robert is testing, which is fine, I can understand why.
"But for me, I get a longer holiday and I come back refreshed for Spa. It's good for Robert - I lose a day in the car but nothing changes. I'm just looking forward to having a second half of the season. I would rather have the day, but it is what it is really. It's not going to make a big difference. Last year it was helpful mid-season to have a test at Silverstone and it's mileage which would have been nice to catch up on."
Palmer's chances have not been helped by a scoreless season so far, with the Englishman suffering the majority of Renault's issues. He pointed out in his media session he's had just two clean weekends so far this weekend, something he thinks needs to change in the coming races if he wants to turn his form around.
"For this weekend I feel good because I've got the updates on my car, it's a track I like, it's a track we hopefully go well at, even last year I could have had a point here and we've come a long way since then. The reliability isn't my hands, every weekend I turn up and hope and expect for good reliability and so far we get to a certain session we'll have to stop the car - but I don't know what to expect at the start of the weekend!
"Each time we're doing it we're finding new issues and putting in new procedures, new parts to try and improve it, so I guess you could say with every problem you're reducing the chance of a further problem... at the moment we just keep having news ones! All I can do is trust the people who work on it and we can finally get some good reliability from that."