Jolyon Palmer feels Renault team-mate Kevin Magnussen will be even stronger on his return to the Formula 1 grid as he tries to prove McLaren was wrong to axe him.
Magnussen was notified via email on his birthday his services as reserve with McLaren were no longer required, with the team preferring Stoffel Vandoorne.
Four months on and the 23-year-old's F1 career has been salvaged by Renault after the French manufacturer parted company with Pastor Maldonado.
Palmer is convinced Magnussen will be fired up by his departure from McLaren.
"He's a good driver who has proven what he can do in F1 already," Palmer told Autosport.
"If they were struggling to decide who should stay between Kevin and Jenson [Button] then that says something about him.
"I'm sure he's now going to be unbelievably motivated to do a good job and show McLaren why he shouldn't have been dropped."
With Maldonado out of the picture, Renault's line-up is a relatively inexperienced one, with neither driver competing in a race since the end of 2014.
Palmer does not feel that will be a drawback.
"There's not a lot of experience now Pastor has gone," he acknowledged.
"But you only have to look at how the Toro Rosso guys performed last year. Both of them did very well.
"Experience can be over-rated. Of course, it's better to have experience than not, but if you've two young, hungry drivers that want to show their best then that's a good thing for the team.
"So we'll push each other hard, but also work hard together, work well together to push the team forward."
Palmer recognises Magnussen will be the main benchmark by which he will judged.
While Magnussen has a season of F1 racing behind him, Palmer has team knowledge from his year as reserve with what was then Lotus.
"When you are in F1 any driver that is your team-mate is a challenge because they are the best drivers in the world," added Palmer.
"I can't really kid myself it was going to be any other way. You look down the grid and you have to be at the top of your game.
"He maybe has the advantage with a year's race experience, but I know the team well, I travelled with them all last year, I drove last year's car and managed to get a fair amount of mileage.
"We're both drivers that had a year out last year, so it's whatever you want to make of it, but I feel we're reasonably even."
Jolyon Palmer is the cover star of this week's Autosport magazine - available online and in shops now - which features an in-depth interview with Britain's latest F1 hope
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