Palmer and Goddard get Force India tests

2014 F1 season

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GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer will test for Force India during next week’s two days of running at the Yas Marina circuit.

The team will also test Formula Three driver Richard ‘Spike’ Goddard. Team owner Vijay Mallya described the pair as “two promising youngsters”.

Palmer, the son of former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer, clinched this year’s GP2 crown ahead of this weekend’s final two races in Abu Dhabi. He graduated to the category in 2011 after finishing second to Dean Stoneman in the now-defunct Formula Two championship.

The 23-year-old is striving to become the first GP2 champion to gain a place in Formula One since Romain Grosjean in 2011. Palmer said Force India had “shown faith” in him.

“I have worked very hard for a chance like this and I want to help the team get the most from this test session,” he added. “This is a team that has always promoted talent and I hope this opportunity can lead to bigger things in the future.”

Goddard, 22, finished his third year of Formula Three in 23rd place in the European championship. He won the junior national category in the British championship two years ago, but was one of only two drivers to start all the races that year.

“As a team we have a strong track record of identifying up-and-coming prospects and giving them valuable mileage and experience in our cars,” Mallya added.

“I have been following Jolyon’s progress this season in GP2 and he is clearly a big talent that deserves a chance in Formula One. Spike has also worked hard to get this chance and it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Palmer and Goddard get Force India tests”

  1. Good as to see another aussie, but i fear 22 is getting past a f1 seat?

    1. If it is, it shouldn’t be. Once a driver is definitely past his peak, then yes, but otherwise, there is still plenty of time to develop.

  2. As an Australian can I just say – Goddard? What the? I vaguely know of him as a constant F3 back marker. Obviously he’s bought a day’s running, but gosh it would be nice to see someone with prospects get the spot (a kiwi like Stanaway would be my pick).

    1. The only race I really noticed Goddard was race 1 at the Nürburgring this year. Start was given in wet but drying conditions, Goddard was one of the only ones to start on wet tyres. From position 20 on the grid, he bolted to the lead in a matter of a few laps.

      Then the track dried and he fell back as spectacularly as he had gone forward.

      It was a good effort. But that’s about it.

      1. That was a phenomenally entertaining race, he’d hop on the wet side out of corners and get insane traction compared to those on slicks, only to rubber band back into them near the end of every straight. Great stuff – but you’re both right, Goddard is a perennial back-marker, maybe sniffing at midfield some days which isn’t much to brag about in a single-spec series. He’s probably got a fat wallet.

  3. Maybe this is the reason why Perez’s contract has not been finalized. Maybe Palmer will be in SFI 2015?

    1. I suspect the delay is more likely due to Perez’ sponsors are being turned upside down and shaken.

  4. His THIRD year! Jesus.

    1. I don’t see why people put so much weight on how long a driver was in a junior category before he won his championship.
      Sure some guys come in & win straght off the bat, But there are plenty of other examples of drivers needing a couple years & then doing very well when moving upto F1.

      Romain Grosjean for instance was in GP2 for 3 years before he won the title & he hasn’t done too badly in F1.

      It also should not be forgotten that the Pirelli tyres have a big learning curve & that according to Will Buxton’s GP2 commentary nobody in the GP2 paddock expects another rookie champion because the 1st year is now purely a year figuring out the Pirelli’s.

      As to Palmer, The guy’s a great racer. He’s shown consistently the past 2 years that he’s both fast, consistent & is one of the best racers/overtakers to come through GP2 since Lewis Hamilton.

      He beat Felipe Nasr to the title who many seemed happy to see move to F1 so I think Jolyon should be given a chance to prove how good he is.

      1. I think the most on offer is a third driver gig with practice sessions.

      2. Roger A- Grosjean has only 2 full seasons in GP2. He finished 4th in the first year and was running 2nd in 2009 when he was called up by Renault. He then dominated in 2011.
        And I personally think Stoffel Vandoorne is a much better driver.

      3. @RogerA: I’m sorry but I don’t think Palmer should be given an F1 drive. He’s had 4 seasons in GP2 and his first three were not good. Feeder series serve to test a driver’s speed and adaptability. Just look at his GP2 resume:

        First year: 0 points, ended 28th, beaten by teammate Kral who scored 2 podiums
        Second year: 11th, beaten by teammate Ericsson
        Third year: 7th, beaten by teammate Nasr

        If anything I think people should not get more than 2 seasons, in feeder series. That should be enough to assess the speed and adaptability. Vandoorne is showing it can be done to be competitive straight-away, both in FR3.5 and GP2.

        there are plenty of other examples of drivers needing a couple years & then doing very well when moving upto F1.

        In reality, most of the current drivers in F1 were competitive in their first year in pretty much all of the series they entered, and if not in the first year, then almost without exception in their second year. The exceptions would be Chilton, Ericsson, and Kobayashi.

        I don’t think you’ll find too many drivers who did very well in F1 but had a hard time getting up to speed in feeder series.

        1. @mattds I’m intrigued to see whether you think Felipe Nasr deserves a seat or not then. Because remember that it was Palmer who did all the winning whilst they were team mates, and Nasr has had just won feature race win in three years, not really worth shouting about.

          I’m not 100% convinced that Palmer will be a world beater (or any of the current GP2 field except for Stoffel Vandoorne & maybe Rafaelle Marciello) but he certainly deserves a seat in F1, especially as Nasr has one. This season is evidence of that.

          1. @craig-o well, let’s compare their GP2 records. Palmer finished 28th in his first season, and won three races in the next two seasons.
            Nasr finished 10th in his first season, and won four races in the next two seasons (but granted, they were all in his third).

            Palmer won more when they were teammates but the less experienced Nasr was more consistent and obtained double the podiums.

            I don’t think Nasr is the best ever driver to come through the ranks but he has done better than Palmer in GP2. I do however think that there are drivers that would deserve to have gotten a chance before Nasr did – Frijns, Vandoorne, Felix da Costa, Sainz Jr, just to name a few.

            Do you really disagree with my arguments? That pretty much all (aside from pay drivers and, well, Kobayashi) F1 drivers have always been outstanding in junior series in at least the second season? That Palmer losing out to team mates 3 years in a row in GP2 is highly unimpressive? That junior series should not be won on experience but serve to gauge speed and adaptability?

            Where do you draw the line? 5 seasons in GP2 and then winning it? 7 years? 10? I think 4 is simply too much, especially when a driver needed 3 to even break the top 10.

            All just my opinion, of course.

          2. @MattDS Well you never answered my question in the first place, so I’m not quite sure what you’re on about.

            Regardless of the fact that Palmer has taken this many seasons to take the title, he has quite clearly shown steady and consistent progress throughout his career, and now that he has won what is supposed to be the main feeder series for Formula One, what would you expect him to do next? Because all of those things point to having a Formula One seat on merit. In three years in GP2, Nasr has taken less feature race wins than Max Chilton, and has driven for the same teams. He has not shown a great deal of improvement throughout and he has seemed to have stagnated. From what wheel-to-wheel racing I have seen between the two, Palmer has come out on top in almost every situation.

            If Nasr deserves a F1 seat on merit (which he does not, he is buying one), then surely Palmer does too.

            But that is just my opinion.

          3. @craig-o I believe I did answer your question – that I don’t think Nasr is the best junior driver ever, that he has clearly done better than Palmer in GP2. Does Nasr have a seat in F1 on merit next year? No, I don’t think so, because I believe there are at least 4 junior drivers that deserve it more.

            But those 4 won’t be getting it (well, Sainz Jr might). And between Palmer and Nasr, it’s Nasr for me.

            Comparing the number of feature race wins when one has 1 and the other 2 isn’t terribly meaningful.
            What I would expect him to do next? Well, I wouldn’t expect anyone to stay in a feeder series for 4 years – in fact I wouldn’t even allow it if I would run the series, as I would try to prevent the series from becoming a series where experience reigns over speed and adaptability.

            I also don’t understand how you could state Nasr seems to have stagnated. He’s gone from tenth to fourth to (at least for now) second. I guess if you start out with a 28th position it’s easier to show improvement, especially if the next year you follow that up with 11th – still prenty of room to improve.

            Sure, Nasr’s money is very attractive in F1. But come on. Palmer needed 3 seasons in GP2 to do better than Nasr’s debut season. And Nasr won more in his three seasons than Palmer in his first three seasons. Pretty much every metric points to Nasr having had a better three years than Palmer’s first three years. How can you then say Nasr doesn’t deserve it over Palmer?

      4. I’m talking about Goddard. Three years and literally no results. Shocking that he’s driving an F1 car next week and Evans, Lynn, Stanaway etc apparently aren’t. Ridiculous that drivers like him, Nissany and Fong have all been driving F1 cars recently. Although I am pretty angry that a second tier GP2 champion who has been beaten by Kral, Ericsson and Nasr in his first three years of GP2 is as well, but he’s far more deserving than many.

    2. @jmc200 Three years is common, if not normal in GP2, but especially for those who move up too early/still have much left to learn when they enter, like Palmer, Valsecchi, or Chilton.

      But I’d much rather have Jolyon than Max on the grid, Jolyon has shown great overtaking skills to go with the pace, much like Kobayashi or Hamilton.

      @mattDS That would only be possible if the drivers weren’t being asked to fund the series – in that case, the more guaranteed income you have, the better chance you have of surviving… just like the backmarkers in F1. In a meritocracy, you could have a proper ladder and F1 would be a grid of feeder champions (which it almost is, anyway) from each year.

  5. I hope Goddard feels a sense of shame knowing that there are many many drivers who are more deserving of the opportunity.

  6. Palmer deserves a chance, especially as Nasr is being given one. I rate the Brit more than I do the Brazilian, despite what happened in 2013. As for Goddard, he isn’t a driver who I have watched a great deal, but I did watch that race at the Nurburgring… I suppose Force India know what they’re doing, they’ve gradually moulded Perez into a solid driver.

  7. Congratulations to Jolyon, well deserved. I’m sure you’ll do well in the test.

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