Lotus announced yesterday that they will be bumping test driver Jolyon Palmer up to a full-time race seat, which is great for the 2014 GP2 champion. It’s also a little hilarious that he’s paired with pay-driving crashbot Pastor Maldonado, given his thoughts from last year.
Palmer will be taking over the spot on Lotus/Renault’s roster that opened up when Romain Grosjean left for the Haas F1 Team. Bonus: Renault will be making The Team Currently Known As Lotus its works team for 2016.
“Getting into Formula 1 has never been harder,” Palmer said in a Lotus team announcement. “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.”
Here’s what Palmer told Autoweek last year, when he didn’t move directly into a full F1 drive:
It is disheartening to see drivers I have beaten on the track so easily get a seat in Formula One. That’s the reality of Formula One at the moment, but it sends the wrong message. It creates the impression that F1 doesn’t need the best drivers.
Everyone knows what some teams really need instead: dolla dolla billz. It’s a sad reality, but Palmer was ballsy in pointing it out.
Fortunately, Palmer has a seat in 2016 after a year of being Lotus’ reserve driver, driving alongside this man:
Congratulations, Jolyon, you’ve finally made it big!
In all seriousness, Lotus seems to have picked up a solid young driver in promoting Palmer. He’s already familiar with the team and its cars, and should prove to be an asset so long as he gives his teammate a wide berth.
Palmer said that he feels even more prepared after having spent a year as a reserve driver in the team’s announcement:
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.
He’s also happy to be racing next to Pastor next season, who — to be fair — has had more bad luck this year than outright crashtacularness.
“We have worked well together this year and I’ve been driving alongside him in FP1 already,” Palmer told Lotus.
Bring on (...back?) the Renaults!
[Correction: I accidentally mistook this as a current photo because I’ve been attempting to work off a tiny, waterlogged iPhone 5S, as it’s the only piece of kit on me that hasn’t been bricked by water at the track. Young Alonso and Current Maldonado look a bit too similar on a tiny screen, and my apologies for the mistake. I have no idea what their livery will be for next year, but you can bet I’ll be rooting for that unique baby blue and yellow combination in some updated and interesting form. H/T StingrayJake and a retina display that I refuse to take out of my dry, warm apartment!]
Photo credit: Getty Images
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