He is referring to 2009, when after Honda suddenly withdrew from F1, Ross Brawn’s new privateer team stunned the F1 world by winning the title thanks to the ‘double diffuser’ innovation.
Actually, Palmer’s works Renault team is targeting the top 5 this year, as it builds back up following the near collapse of its predecessor Lotus in 2015.
But the British driver said at the reveal of Renault’s yellow and black 2017 car on Tuesday: “Some of my mates have been saying ‘Imagine if you can do a Brawn’.
“It is possible,” he is quoted by the Times. “It is a completely blank set of regulations. Compared to the last few years it is a real chance for someone to upset the form book.”
Indeed, Renault has taken a bold step with its engine for 2017, changing “95 per cent” of the power unit.
Technical boss Bob Bell said the unit is now “more or less with Ferrari”.
“They’ve had a big winter,” confirmed Renault customer Red Bull’s Christian Horner. “We’re hoping for a step in performance.”
But Palmer’s new teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, is realistic about what the works team can achieve in 2017 with its car-engine package.
“If you see where we were last year, then we have quite a bit of catching up to do,” he told the German newspaper Bild.
“I think Mercedes and Red Bull will continue to set the pace.”