Gastaldi pleased to hand Palmer FP1 debut in China

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Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi is pleased that reserve driver Jolyon Palmer will be able to make his grand prix weekend debut in China when he takes part in practice next Friday.

2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Lotus at the beginning of the year as its third and reserve driver, and enjoyed his first on-track running with the E23 Hybrid car during pre-season testing in Barcelona.

The Briton will now get his first run out at a grand prix weekend in China, deputizing for either Pastor Maldonado or Romain Grosjean during FP1.

“Jolyon is a crucial part of the team for this season so it was important for us to see him in the car over the course of a grand prix early in the season,” Gastaldi said.

“For the first two races, it made sense for our race drivers to get as much time as possible in the car, but now we can start exercising some of Jolyon’s talents in the FP1 session.

“We’ll see him out in action quite a few times over the course of the year.”

Lotus remains stuck on zero points after another unlucky race in Malaysia last time out, with Grosjean finishing 11th after being spun by Sergio Perez and Maldonado being forced to retire.

However, Gastaldi remains upbeat, and hopes that the team can finally record its first top-ten finish of the year in Shanghai next weekend.

“At the top of the list is, of course, points,” Gastaldi said when asked what his ‘wish list’ was for China. “We have the pace so we just need to be there in the correct position when the checkered flag falls.

“Both Pastor and Romain are operating at the top of their games so it’s just a question of having a race without any issues or contact from other cars.

“We’ve had a couple of reliability issues which we’re addressing so we expect to be out there and scoring very soon.”