GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer named third driver for Lotus for 2015
24-year-old targeting promotion to F1 grid for 2016
Last Updated: 20/01/15 6:32pm
Lotus have unveiled Britain's GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer as their third driver for the 2015 season.
The Enstone-based team have promised Palmer, whose appointment was made on his 24th birthday, a 'significant number' of practice sessions on Grand Prix weekends this coming season.
Palmer became Britain's first GP2 champion since Lewis Hamilton in 2006, and he hopes the Lotus deal will prove a springboard into a race seat in 2016 after he spent the final test of last year with Force India.
"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," Palmer said.
"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.
"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."
Palmer, who is the son of former Formula 1 driver Jonathan, admitted he was very impressed by the set up at Enstone and he cannot wait to get to work with his new team.
He added: "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."
Lotus team principal Gerard Lopez is happy to have Palmer as part of his team and feels coming through as GP2 champion will help him, as it has current Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
He added: "Jolyon is a fantastic talent and a very credible driver to fulfil the role of third driver at Lotus. Romain and Pastor are both GP2 series champions so we know what a fantastic proving ground GP2 provides.
"For Jolyon to have enjoyed such a successful season as he took his title last year shows his superb potential for the future.
"We are looking forward to seeing him in team colours and behind the wheel of our 2015 car, which represents an exciting new era for Lotus."
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