Palmer told Lotus drive may be open for 2016 season


Jolyon Palmer has been told by Lotus F1 Team that there may be a full-time race seat open for the 2016 season.

Palmer joined Lotus in a reserve role for 2015 after winning last year’s GP2 Series title, and has taken part in five Formula 1 practice sessions so far this season.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Palmer made clear that he was not keen on remaining in a test role for another season, and has in fact been told that there could be an opening at Lotus for 2016.

“I don’t want to be a test driver again next year,” Palmer said. “My aim is still to be racing with Lotus and that is why I am here for the year to be racing.

“I have been told there could be an opportunity so I just have to try my best and show the team why they should take me.

“There is not much more to say, I am getting some time in the car, so at least I am getting an opportunity and as far I am aware there could be a chance so I am just trying to grab it with both hands.”

The current Lotus line-up comprises of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, two former GP2 champions.

Maldonado’s place with the team has been secure for some time due to the sizeable sponsorship that he brings to Enstone courtesy of Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA. However, team CEO Matthew Carter has said in the past that in spite of Maldonado’s backing, no driver is indispensable.

Grosjean has led Lotus’ charge following the departure of Kimi Raikkonen at the end of 2013, and was known to be on Ferrari’s ‘back-up’ list had Sebastian Vettel not joined the team for 2015.

However, his financial backing is not on a par with Maldonado’s, and should Palmer be able to bring a greater sum to the team, Grosjean’s place could be at risk for 2016.