Jolyon Palmer admits his split from Renault following the Japanese Grand Prix made sense after the team made it clear they wanted Carlos Sainz to contest the rest of 2017.
Sainz was already set to replace Palmer at Renault for 2018, but the French manufacturer was keen to fast-forward his arrival with the team engulfed in a close battle with Haas and Toro Rosso in the constructors' standings.
Palmer announced he would be leaving Renault four races early after qualifying on Saturday, before going on to finish 12th in Suzuka. The move cleared the path for Sainz to join the Enstone-based outfit from the United States Grand Prix, with the team hoping the Spaniard's arrival can boost its position in the championship.
Renault currently sits eighth and is just a single point behind Haas and a further nine adrift of Toro Rosso. Nico Hulkenberg has scored 34 of Renault's total tally of 42 points so far this season, while Palmer has managed just one finish inside the top-10.
"Obviously it's been a bit of a strange weekend knowing it was going to be my last race with the team, it's a shame I'm not going to Austin with them," Palmer told Sky Sports F1.
"It's been pretty clear, Carlos is signed for next year and Cyril [Abiteboul] made it clear he wanted to put him in the car this year as well. After this race there's a couple of weeks gap and it made sense for this time to be the time that we part ways.
"It's a shame for me not to finish the season having been with the team a while, but I respect the decision and I wish the team all the best for the future and Carlos the best. We go in separate ways and I'll work on something else in the future."
The Briton's future in the sport has been the subject of speculation for much of the year, following a difficult start to the season. This ramped up ahead of the summer break with talk that Palmer could be replaced by Robert Kubica for the Belgian Grand Prix, but Renault moved quickly to pour cold water over the rumours, insisting Palmer's seat was safe until the end of the campaign.
Final thought? From all of us Enstone & Viry; it's been an absolute pleasure working with you. Thank you Jolyon, it's been a hell of a ride! pic.twitter.com/8qQim6JM9T— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) October 8, 2017
When asked how his mindset had changed following the race in Japan, Palmer replied: "When I'm heading back on the plane maybe it will sink in that I'm not driving for Renault again and maybe not in Formula One again. I wouldn't say there's any relief. I would love to see out the season and finish what I started.
"The stress levels have been huge this year, it's been a very tough season for many reasons," he added. "Each weekend coming in with question marks. I would have happily seen out the season and I think the team is in a good place. It's a shame but I'll move on, there's plenty of life outside of F1 out there and I'm about to find out what it is."