Cyril Abiteboul: '2017 highlighting role of driver'

Formula 1's new era better highlights the differences between drivers, according to Cyril Abiteboul.

Formula 1's new era better highlights the differences between drivers, according to Cyril Abiteboul.

The Renault team boss this week warned that Jolyon Palmer's struggle alongside Nico Hulkenberg this year is currently under review.

"The contrast between the drivers is striking," he told French language news agency AFP.

"It highlights the important role played by the driver in a sport where technology is central.

"It is not just about the engine and the car - much is determined by the driver. So first of all there is this competition between drivers and Nico reminds us of that."

While Briton Palmer is struggling, Abiteboul says that German Hulkenberg's current role is vital.

"Nico has an unusual role in the team," said the Frenchman. "He gives us the direction for development, and the priorities for changes to the car.

"We know what to do, but he helps us to highlight the key points and show what is more and less important."

Hulkenberg has picked up 14 points this season, while Palmer is yet to get off the mark.

Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso walks in the paddock during previews to the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 12, 2016
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TeamPoints
1Mercedes330
2Ferrari275
3Red Bull174
4Force India95
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso33
7Haas29
8Renault26
9Sauber5
10McLaren2
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari177
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes176
3Valtteri BottasMercedes154
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari98
6Max VerstappenRed Bull57
7Sergio PerezForce India52
8Esteban OconForce India43
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso29
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Pascal WehrleinSauber5
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren2
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0