Renault: Jolyon Palmer 'must deliver' results soon

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Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul says under-pressure driver Jolyon Palmer "has to deliver" results soon and ease the "almost unfair" burden on teammate Nico Hulkenberg to score points.

Hulkenberg has enjoyed a strong start to life at Renault, scoring 18 points in his opening seven races with the team he joined from Force India for 2017. Renault's pre-season target was fifth in the constructors' championship but is currently seventh, with Palmer yet to add a point to the team's tally.

Abiteboul makes it clear Renault expects to see Palmer claim some top-ten finishes soon because he is in a car capable of challenging for points most weekends.

Asked if Palmer's seat is at risk, Abiteboul told Autosport: "No one is safe in F1. F1 is not an environment where anyone can say loudly, 'I'm safe'. To a certain degree there are two questions. There is Jo, and there is a second driver. Right now my focus is on Jo. Jo has to deliver.

'What would happen then, I don't want to elaborate on that, and even further, who would be stepping in, because that's absolutely not the point for today. The fact is that Jo has a car which is a points-scoring car, and he has to enter into the points. Full stop."

Renault feels Palmer's failure to score any points so far this year has placed unfair pressure on Hulkenberg to finish high up the order.

"Right now I feel that it's a bit almost unfair to Nico, who has to do a lot. The team is clearly very dependent on him. When Nico is out of the game, including for reasons beyond his control like [Monaco] when he had his gearbox failure, we struggle to finish in the points, despite a number of cars that were also not finishing the race."

In another interview published on Friday with the official F1 website, Abiteboul explained why Hulkenberg and Renault work well together as a team.

"Nico is a leader. He is leading the team from every possible angle. He is charismatic and has a fantastic reputation. But he also has a point to make. He is just like us right now: we have a name -- now we have something to prove.

"We both want to win races and fight for the championship in the next few years. And to push everything forward as fast as possible we needed a driver who is able to set priorities and give directions. And he has all that."