NOVEMBER 11, 2016
Renault kept Palmer for continuity says Vasseur
Kevin Magnussen has revealed that he turned down an offer to stay with Renault for 2017.
Instead, the French works team has retained Jolyon Palmer to join the incoming Nico Hulkenberg next year.
Many have questioned the Palmer re-signing, given that the Briton has been generally outperformed by Dane Magnussen this year and is significantly supported by backers linked with his father, former driver Jonathan Palmer.
But team boss Frederic Vasseur insists that Palmer fully deserves his place.
"We had planned to decide based on the outcome of the final races, and in several grands prix Jolyon performed at the level of Kevin and achieved excellent results.
"He is developing rapidly and next year even more so we decided to continue," the Frenchman told the Infosport Plus broadcaster.
"Also, we wanted to keep the continuity, because next year's car will be completely new because of the regulations and there are very few tests in the winter," said Vasseur.
With Magnussen departing, the former McLaren driver will be unveiled in the coming hours as Romain Grosjean's new teammate at Haas for 2017 and beyond.
Current Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez has already announced his looming departure, and team boss Gunther Steiner said at Interlagos: "I hope I can announce my plans this weekend, yes."
Magnussen smiled when asked by the Danish broadcaster TV3 in Brazil if Haas is his destination.
"Let's see what happens," he said.
What the 24-year-old would say is that it was his choice to leave Renault.
"They offered me a one year contract, and it was pretty much fine, but it was more the feeling," Magnussen explained.
"They needed someone who could drive the car for one year, so they already had some other drivers in their head," he added.
"I did what I could to continue the cooperation, but what they had to offer was just not enough for me," said Magnussen.
"The whole process of extending options and not using them, and knowing they offered the seat to so many different drivers made me feel that there was not a particularly good structure and therefore I chose to say no thanks.
"Also I wanted to have a longer contract, they couldn't offer it to me and it confirmed to me what they have in mind," he added.