Renault confirms Japan as Jolyon Palmer's last race

Carlos Sainz Malaysian GP 2017

Renault announced late on Saturday that Carlos Sainz would race for the French outfit at the US Grand Prix in Austin, replacing Jolyon Palmer alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

Sainz had already signed a deal to race for Renault next season but the Spaniard is being released from Toro Rosso four races early as "circumstances have changed".

It has also paved the way for Pierre Gasly to remain with Toro Rosso, meaning the Frenchman - who finished 14th on his F1 race debut in Malaysia - has subsequently relinquished his chance to win the Super Formula title, with the final round at Suzuka clashing with the United States Grand Prix later this month.

"It's been a bit of a unusual weekend knowing it's the last with the team after three years, shame not going to Austin", Palmer told Sky Sports.

'I'd like to say sorry to the whole team for retiring on the first lap, ' Sainz said.

"When I'm sat on the plane on the way back home, probably it will sink in that certainly I won't be driving for Renault again and maybe not in Formula One again", he said. "My immediate focus is now on achieving the best possible result in the Japanese GP, and then I can assess my options for the future", he added.

"More specifically, I really want to thank all my engineers and mechanics for their support and tremendous work throughout these years".

"I respect the decision and wish the team still the best for the future, Carlos the best and we go our separate ways".

While F1 seats are still free with Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber for 2018, Palmer is not thought to be in contention for them, leaving him on the sidelines in F1 for the time being.

"When I went to bed I was happy because I knew it was a good chance for me to adapt to the vehicle a bit earlier than we expected, to get to know my engineers, the team, the mechanics a bit earlier".

Even Sainz wasn't expecting the early move.

Behind the fast talk and the smirk, Cyril Abiteboul has shown that if ever playing Poker with him, one should do the complete opposite of what he suggests and completely ignore the wide-eyed "who me, as if" look.

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