Great Britain rejoice, you now have another home boy with a secured race seat for 2016, it’s Jolyon Palmer for the Lotus F1 Team. Palmer will team up with Pastor Maldonado and fill the spot from departing Romain Grosjean.
Read Jolyon’s full Q&A with Lotus below, courtesy of the Lotus F1 Team.
Jolyon, congratulations on your promotion to a race seat with the team in 2016. How does it feel to know that you will be a fully-fledged F1 race driver next season?
It feels pretty unbelievable! It’s been such a long journey and I’m so glad to have been confirmed as a race driver with the team next year. A lot of hard work has gone into preparing for this to happen and into proving what I’m capable of delivering. I’m very grateful to everyone who has so far helped me at the team; I’m now looking forward to 2016 and to build on the experience that I already have.
Do you feel a real sense of achievement?
Yes definitely. Getting into Formula 1 has never been harder. When I won GP2 in 2014 I felt that I was ready to move up back then so it feels like it has been a long time coming. At the same time, this year has been very good. I have enjoyed working with the team and ultimately it has given me the chance to prove what I’m capable of. I’m absolutely ready for it now!
How much have you learnt from working closely with the team at Enstone and at the races this year?
I have learnt a huge amount with the team this year. It has opened my eyes to the world of Formula 1. GP2 is high level, the drivers are good and the car is very solid but F1 is another level. The technology involved is immense and so advanced, there is a lot to get your head around. Also, working with so many engineers and the team as a whole is a completely different experience to GP2. I’m now better prepared than ever.
You have driven a good number of Free Practice and test sessions in 2015. How useful has it been to be hands-on this season?
To be getting a lot of mileage in the car was the most important aspect for me this year. It has also proved valuable to show everyone in the team what I can deliver behind the wheel. Driving in FP1 during a Grand Prix weekend, when you have a specific run plan to achieve in a ninety minutes session that will be key to the team’s preparation for the rest of the weekend, means that the pressure is on each time. I have also learnt a great deal in engineering meetings and during simulator sessions at Enstone.
You and Pastor will be team mates next season. Does it help already knowing the driver you will race alongside with?
I’m very pleased to be working with Pastor next season. We have worked well together this year and I’ve been driving alongside him in FP1 already. It’s good to know that there will be continuity.
Will you now carry on your preparations ahead of 2016 and will it be a studious winter break for you?
Yes absolutely. There are no drastic changes for me until the end of this season and I will carry on with my duties. However, I’ll be doing everything I can over the winter to be the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been and give it my best shot in 2016. I’m now super motivated and excited. It’s just great that I’ll be carrying on with the team and be a race driver next year. I can’t wait to be on the grid in Melbourne in 2016!