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Palmer confirmed in second Lotus seat for 2016

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Jolyon Palmer will make his full Formula 1 debut with Lotus next year after being announced as the team’s second driver for the 2016 season on Friday.

Palmer joined Lotus in a reserve role at the beginning of the season after winning the GP2 Series title in 2014, and has taken part in ten F1 practice sessions for the team so far this year.

The British driver will step up to a full-time race seat with the team in 2016 when it is due to become a Renault works team – assuming that the impending takeover by the French manufacturer carries through – in place of the Haas-bound Romain Grosjean.

“Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Third and Reserve driver Jolyon Palmer has been promoted to a race seat for the 2016 season, completing the team’s driver line-up alongside Pastor Maldonado,” a statement from the team read.

“I’m obviously delighted that I’ll be racing in Formula 1 next year,” Palmer said. “Lotus F1 Team gave me a tremendous opportunity this season and I thank them for assisting my development to a level where they have put their trust in me for a crucial season in their evolution.

“I’ve enjoyed and learnt a lot from my year as Third and Reserve driver so I’m looking forward to putting this into practice as a race driver in 2016. I can’t wait for next season to get underway!”

Palmer will also become the latest ‘second generation’ driver in F1, following in the footsteps of his father, Jonathan, who raced between 1983 and 1989.

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.