One driver not in the frame at Williams is Jolyon Palmer, whose F1 career looks to have ended, following the Japanese GP. Renault had been looking to replace Palmer for some time, and have succeeded in securing Carlos Sainz for the final races of 2017 ahead of his first full season with them in 2018. Before Japan, Renault finally cracked the resolve of Palmer and his father Jonathan, who had previously refused their pay-off offer.
Perhaps understandably, Palmer had grown increasingly sensitive as questions about his future mounted while he failed to match up to team-mate Nico Hülkenberg. After what he’d hoped was a turning point when he finished sixth in Singapore, Palmer insisted he “knew he could do it”. But the team did not agree.