Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, 2015

Palmer to have practice runs for Lotus in 2015

2015 F1 season

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Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, 2015Jolyon Palmer has joined Lotus as the team’s third driver for the 2015 season.

The team say he will drive in “a significant number” of practice sessions during the year.

Lotus chairman Gerard Lopez described Palmer as “a fantastic talent and a very credible driver to fulfil the role of third driver at Lotus F1 Team”.

Romain [Grosjean] and Pastor [Maldonado] are both GP2 series champions, so we know what a fantastic proving ground GP2 provides.”

Palmer tested for Force India at the end of last year after his title win.

“My goal has been to become a race driver in a competitive F1 team for 2016 and Lotus F1 Team is a great opportunity for me, particularly with Mercedes engines now,” he said.

“To be able to learn with a major F1 team by working closely with them in every area and getting a lot of mileage in the car is the best way possible, as Valtteri Bottas proved.”

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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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45 comments on “Palmer to have practice runs for Lotus in 2015”

  1. Fingers crossed Palmer takes Maldonado’s place in 2016.

    1. Not the biggest Lotus fan, but I’d imagine they’d get a driver with more money and more talent.

      Than Palmer, that is. Palmer is the next in a long line of drivers who stuck around long enough in GP2 to win on experience and still didn’t out-impress Nasr or Vandoorne.

    2. Could be even faster, due to the deep economic crisis looming over Venezuela. The falling oil prices hit hard on the country’s export profits which rely almost exclusively on oil. I’ve even read of a likelihood of a military coup.

      1. Victor Gonzalez
        20th January 2015, 16:39

        As a Venezuelan I can tell you nothing is going to happen, venezuelans are too lazy to do something about their misery (I just got out of the country) and Maldonado’s sponsorship money will also not run out since the goverment really likes making bad investments

    3. Why do so many F1 fans dislike Maldonado & seem to want him out of F1 as if he’s got no talent & is somehow undeserving of F1?

      The guy’s won an F1 race on merit & He’s was in contention for a few more podiums during the 1 year he had a decent car.

      He won the GP2 championship, He finished 3rd in the WSBR championship & he’s won races in every category he’s ever competed in so he’s clearly got the talent to warrant his F1 drive.

      If the guy was hopeless, Had never won anything & never looked like doing anything in F1 then I’d be right there saying he doesn’t deserve to be in F1 but he’s clearly not hopeless, He’s clearly not slow & his results show he’s more than good enough for F1.
      I’d also point out that there were times last year where he was easily faster than Grosjean & Romain is someone everyone was praising in the 2nd half of 2013.

      1. True, Maldonado on his day can look like a WDC level competitor. The only problem is that he doesn’t have the consistency for that to be every race. Perez I would place in a similar vein, along with Gutierrez.

        Massa is another one whose form ebbs and flows over many years, while Raikkonen for example is very sensitive to the car he has under him, as shown this year, and Button too, when he struggled in 2012.

        Maldonado has an aggressive style, reminiscent of Hamilton – he would have done well on Bridgestones, yet Pirelli entered F1 just as he did too. He also lost the 2006 FR3.5 title on a technical DSQ.

        1. On that note, he started in 2003, won FR2.0 Italy in 2004 and tested for Minardi. He won FR3.5 in 2006, so he could have entered F1 then as say a team-mate to Vettel at Toro Rosso.

          Instead, with secure backing, he spent the next 4 years finishing off in GP2. However, the Monaco marshal/ban incident may have played a part in going in that direction.

      2. There’s always one that everyone loves to hate.

      3. It’s not about his pace, it’s about repeatedly crashing and taking out other drivers. Every year, never learning, never growing out of it.

        He has his good weekends but you can’t just take the best bits and say that’s him.

      4. Maldonado has flashes of brilliance, and genuinely impressive one-lap speed, but he also occasionally flakes out– Barcelona 2012 and 2014 are good examples. In 2012, after McLaren’s screwup with Hamilton’s car, he blitzed the field, and legitimately won the GP.

        In 2014, on a dry track he made an unforced error coming out of a turn, lost control, and slammed into the wall and ended qualifying with no time set. Then on lap one, he promptly drove into Marcus Ericsson (another incident-prone driver).

        When the race commentators start referring to your driving as “clumsy” and “amateurish”, you’re doing something wrong.

  2. Sensible move, worked wonders for Davide Valsecchi.

    1. I feel that there should be a term for this since then. Something like “getting the full Valsecchi” from your team.

      1. Getting the full Valsecchi™

        1. I can’t help but think that Alexander Rossi has also ‘gotten the full Valsecchi’ by never quite making his F1 debut. But he did his best to get there. @beneverard @meander

  3. What about Ocon! Everything’s gone quiet from him. Why would you have a 4th year, DAMS driving GP2 champion when you could have a teenage European F3 champion who beat Max Verstappen!

    1. Money. Palmer has a lot of it via his Dad.

      1. I know why, it’s just infuriating. I thought Ocon has some Mercedes backing…

      2. @weeniebeenie If Palmer had that much money, he would be in Nasr’s seat surely?

        1. Well, maybe Nasr has more? :) Palmer certainly has cash though.

    2. @jmc200 I can only hope that it is because Ocon will be fully concentrating on winning/doing well in GP2 or (now more likely) FR3.5 in 2015, before moving up to F1 in 2016 in some capacity (third driver?).

      But the FIA points now means it’ll be a dogfight of those with money in the best junior teams trying to oust talented poorer drivers from the points required, who will have to fight them with worse cars. Some are bound to miss out..

      @craig-o It’s a big step up from junior level seasons to F1 level races (talking about money here!). Maybe Palmer fits into the middle ‘third driver’ level well. Even Gutierrez is now there!

      1. @fastiesty

        But the FIA points now means it’ll be a dogfight of those with money in the best junior teams trying to oust talented poorer drivers from the points required, who will have to fight them with worse cars. Some are bound to miss out..

        Indeed. Ocon’s F3 title means he’ll be eligible to race in F1 in 2016 and 2017 regardless of what he does for the next two seasons.

        1. @keithcollantine Exactly. That’s why I’m thinking FR3.5 is now best for him – he doesn’t need points, has more chance of winning, and can save some backing for F1 with Lotus. The only issue is if he/they want him to specifically learn Pirelli tyres in GP2. But he is primed to do one more year, third driver in 2016 and race in 2017, if not racing in 2016.

    3. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him pop up as a Mercedes test driver. Obviously he wont get FP1s with them but they’d loan him out in 2016 at least.

      1. @deej92 That’s also a possibility considering the FIA points have sidelined Wehrlein. It depends on what Mercedes think of being dictated to on which of their juniors could race in F1 (does this leave only Paul di Resta?).

    4. @jmc200: nothing is infuriating about Ocon not having a test driver role. He’s just done F3 now, let him follow the normal path and go to GP3 and/or GP2 first. It’s not because Verstappen was rushed to F1 that Ocon should be rushed as well.

    5. Same here, hoped Ocon would get it.

  4. Shame to see another GP2 champion effectively wasted. It has been a long time since one graduated (Grosjean) and an even longer time since one graduated to a F1 team via the ‘third driver’ route (Hulkenberg). Lotus doesn’t exactly have the best reputation regarding reserve drivers too. On the plus side, at least Palmer is getting the F1 mileage which he rightfully deserves, but I cannot see how this is of much use in the long run unless Grosjean has his sights elsewhere and/or Maldonado runs out of money, because I still feel that Ocon is Lotus’ main priority.

    1. Palmer won pretty much out f experience, he was in gp2 for how long? Four years?

      1. That is the whole point! To gain experience!

    2. @craig-o minor mistake, last driver to graduate via thrid-driver-route was bottas at williams.

      1. @rigi He wasn’t GP2 champion though

        1. @george oh yeah, thanks for the reminder. i keep forgetting he was “only” gp3 champion.

  5. What’s this car? I don’t recognize it.

    1. It’s a show car based on the Renault R30 I believe. They bolt random parts on and update the liveries to the current year.

  6. I didn’t think Palmer was that special, I have to admit. Less than special in the wet istr. Experience and maturity make such a difference, if they can afford to stay in GP2 for four years they only have to be decent to end up at the top.

        1. @lockup I think Palmer’s career is best served by taking his first FIA F2 year as his ‘yips’ year. Outside of that, he’s done quite well. The sad comparison that we will never see is whether Henry Surtees would have proved himself to have been more of a natural talent, which at the point he died, I think was likely. His dad is the oldest surviving WDC..

    1. I didn’t think Palmer was that special

      He was only the best racer on the GP2 grid the past 2 years & by far the most consistent driver last year.

      Seriously go watch the guy race, He’s a brilliant overtaker & maybe the best racer/overtaker GP2 has seen since Hamilton was there in 2006. Like Lewis that year Palmer seemed to be able to pull off overtaking moves at will & provided some of the best racing the past 2 years.

  7. Congratulations to Mr Palmer. I know this isn’t really the F1 seat he was hoping for, but at least it is with an F1 team, and he does get to drive F1 cars occasionally, and hopefully he is paid as well.

  8. Sometimes maybe he will get some practices.

  9. I hope he doesn’t get a seat in F1, he’d just be another Chilton, taking up space that a driver with more talent could make better use of. He’d be better off going to IndyCar. If anything, JV deserves a seat more than him.

  10. Interesting to note what the first ten GP2 champions have gone on to do, and of course the trend for them not reaching F1 which may be altered with the new superlicence points system.

    2005: Nico Rosberg – F1 with Williams, now F1 with Mercedes
    2006: Lewis Hamilton – F1 with McLaren, now F1 with Mercedes
    2007: Timo Glock – F1 with Toyota, now DTM with BMW
    2008: Giorgio Pantano – Superleague Formula, last year Blancpain GT racing
    2009: Nico Hulkenberg – F1 with Williams, now F1 with Force India
    2010: Pastor Maldonado – F1 with Williams, now F1 with Lotus
    2011: Romain Grosjean – F1 with Lotus, now F1 with Lotus
    2012: Davide Valsecchi – F1 third driver with Lotus, last year nothing major, has tested an IndyCar
    2013: Fabio Leimer – Last year FIA WEC LMP1 with Rebellion
    2014: Jolyon Palmer – F1 third driver with Lotus

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