Palmer targets F1 berth

Published: Wednesday 15th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Jolyon Palmer is determined to claim a place in Formula One next year after being given the perfect opportunity by Lotus to prove himself worthy.

For the first time the Enstone-based marque are providing their test and reserve driver with a number of outings in Friday’s first practice session ahead of grand prix weekends.

Ordinarily in the past, Lotus’ reserve has been nothing more than a spare part, stood on the sidelines whilst the race drivers completed their tasks.

This year, however, Lotus have decided Palmer will get a shot, and not just as a driver doing all the donkey work too.

Every Friday Palmer will be behind the wheel – as was the case in China last week and again in Bahrain this week – his run-plan will be similar to that of whoever he replaces.

In China, Palmer was only 0.6secs behind Pastor Maldonado at the end of FP1, a tremendous effort given it was Palmer’s first major outing at an F1 event.

If Palmer can continue to push, or even on occasion better the times of Maldonado and team-mate Romain Grosjean, doors may open.

“I want to be really pushing the race drivers. That’s the aim,” said Palmer.

“I’m pretty much running on the same run plan as those guys. It’s not like we’ve seen in FP1 sessions before with other drivers where they have been on quali settings, engine turned up or low fuel.

“This year there’s a direct comparison and I want to show why I should be racing next year.”

Unfortunately for last year’s GP2 champion, his lack of competitive work outside of his duties with Lotus may prove a hindrance.

The 24-year-old from Horsham would love to be keeping his hand in, but knows it is something he has to sacrifice to keep his F1 dream alive.

“I want to race, but only if I get the right offer,” added Palmer, son of former F1 driver Jonathan.

“If I get a good offer to do something that would be a good career move for me then I’d like to race.

“It’s about keeping sharp. It’s the one thing I’m missing this year.

“I’m loving working with Lotus and being in F1, but I’d love to be racing as well, so if I get a good offer I’d love to.”

Palmer, though, is not actively seeking further employment because of his commitment to Lotus, adding: “My main focus is all here and I’m really busy anyway.

“If something came my way then I would definitely consider it, but my main priority is Lotus and I will not compromise anything I do here by racing elsewhere.

“But if there is something that came along that could fit in with this then I’d be happy to do it.”

Published: Wednesday 15th April 2015 by The News Editor

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