Having just been announced as the Lotus F1 Team Third Driver for the 2015 season, reigning GP2 Series Champion Jolyon Palmer gives a little insight into his excitement at joining the team.
Jolyon Palmer, Lotus F1 Team Third Driver. How does that sound?
It sounds great! It’s the dream to be with a Formula 1 team and now I can say I am a Formula 1 driver. I tested with a Force India last year which was already a dream but now to have a full role with a team, a prestigious team as well like Lotus F1 Team, is an amazing opportunity.
You’ve seen Enstone now, what do you think of the facility?
It’s really impressive, it was bigger than I expected but you can see when you’re here that this is a team that has won championships. You can tell the professionalism and the motivation just when you walk around. You know that some fantastic drivers have been part of the make-up here. It’s a really good feeling to now be part of this.
This year you’ll attend all races and test as Third Driver and Reserve Driver with time in the E23 Hybrid as well as in the simulator. How are you approaching the season ahead?
My main aim is to race in Formula 1 so I’ll be working as hard as I can on every aspect of my new job! Working as a Third Driver is the next best thing to being a race driver. I’ll be working with the engineers throughout the season whether I’m in the car or not. There is a lot to learn and I’ll be working to make a valuable contribution to the E23’s development. Every time I’m in the car, I’ll try to give my very best. It’s not just being quick, but also working with the engineers and the team as well.
Looking at your racing CV, you’ve been racing every year for so long. This year you’ll get to drive the best racing car in the world – a Formula 1 car – but you won’t actually be racing. How do you make peace with that?
It’s certainly a change and something different! Understandably, I’m a bit sad that I won’t be competing as racing is my favourite part of being a driver, obviously, but I have to look at the bigger picture. With no race seats available this year, I will still be driving a Formula 1 car, I’ll be part of a prestigious team, one that will move forward, and my goal is to have a year out of racing now, working to be back racing in Formula 1, in 2016.