GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer is readying himself for a year of learning after stepping away from racing in 2015 to take up the third driver role at Lotus F1 Team.
Palmer won the GP2 title in Russia last October, beating McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr to the championship.
However, due to the competitive nature of F1 at the moment and the lack of seats on offer, Palmer was unable to secure a full-time role somewhere, and instead chose to join Lotus as a reserve to Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
“That was the toughest bit in the decision to step back from racing and be a third driver,” Palmer said when asked about stepping back from racing. “That side of it is difficult, but at the same time I’m working in an F1 team and driving an F1 car on some weekends.
“It’s disappointing not to be racing, but at the same time it’s great to be part of a Formula 1 team.”
Palmer will get the opportunity to take part in a number of tests and Friday practice sessions for Lotus across the course of the year, and the Briton is confident this will help him to develop as a driver.
“For me this year is all about learning,” he said. “As the third driver, I’ll be just learning as much as I can, listening to what the race drivers have to say and driving the car as well, giving my best. It’s a learning and development year for me, and about trying to help the team.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to move into F1 and work with a prestigious team as well. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and hoping for a great year.”