Frédéric Vasseur says Jolyon Palmer can stay at Renault beyond the 2017 Formula One season if he fares well against new team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

The German is moving across from Force India after agreeing on a multi-year deal with the French manufacturer. Palmer had to wait until after the Mexican Grand Prix to hear he would be retained for next year, and it is understood that Renault tried to sign several drivers before making an offer to the Briton.

While Palmer’s deal is for 2017 only, Vasseur told Motorsport.com the 25-year-old could extend his career at Enstone if he runs Hulkenberg close.

“It is clear that Nico is a good reference, because he has had a pole position [at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix],” the Renault team principal said.

“Jo has the opportunity to show his potential. He will have a very strong reference and if he is able to match with Nico, then we will continue like this.”

Although Renault could explore the possibility of changing its driver-up again for 2018, Vasseur adds that incumbency will offer Palmer valuable perks.

“Jo will still have the advantage because he is already in place to show his potential, speed and commitment to the team.

“I think it is always better to be inside the team than outside. He will have to do the job.”

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