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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.

Indy Lights: Askew clinches 2019 title while VeeKay wins Laguna Seca race 1

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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.

That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.

“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.

“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.

After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”

Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.

Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

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