Guild Driver of the Year 2014 Jolyon Palmer has been confirmed as a Lotus F1 Team race driver for 2016.
“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,” said Palmer. “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.”
Palmer, 24, has driven the Lotus E23 Hybrid (below) in several Free Practice 1 sessions at 2015 Grands Prix as the team’s third driver, supporting race drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
He joined Lotus F1 Team in January after dominating GP2 in 2014 with the DAMS team winning four races and wrapping up the championship with three rounds to spare, becoming the first British driver to win the series since Lewis Hamilton in 2006. Current Sauber F1 race driver Felipe Nasr was third. In December 2014 he received the Guild’s Driver of the Year trophy from Derek Warwick and Guild chairman Guy Loveridge (below).
“We’ve seen Jolyon’s hard work and talent this season in the way he’s approached his third driver role,” said Lotus team principal Gerard Lopez. “As well as having a great future ahead of him behind the wheel, Jolyon is an intelligent and highly marketable asset to the team. He deserves this opportunity, and everyone at Enstone is excited to see what he can achieve next year.”
Previous Guild Driver of the Year winners include 2015 Le Mans 24-hour winner Nick Tandy and BTCC champion Andrew Jordan.
Images: Lotus F1 Team and Jeff Bloxham/GOMW