Jolyon Palmer has been announced by the Lotus F1 Team as Pastor Maldonado’s new teammate for the 2016 Formula 1 season.
Palmer, who dominated the 2014 GP2 Series championship season driving for the DAMS team, joined Lotus this year as its official reserve driver and completed a number of incident-free outings in various Friday practice sessions to-date.
The Englishman will take over the seat to be vacated by Romain Grosjean, who will join the all-new Haas F1 Team next season.
“It feels pretty unbelievable! It’s been such a long journey and I’m so glad to have been confirmed as a race driver with the team next year,” he beamed.
“A lot of hard work has gone into preparing for this to happen and into proving what I’m capable of delivering. I’m very grateful to everyone who has so far helped me at the team; I’m now looking forward to 2016 and to build on the experience that I already have.”
Twenty-four-year-old Palmer is the son of former F1 driver-turned-commentator Jonathan Palmer, who raced for the likes of Williams, RAM, Zakspeed and Tyrrell in an 83-race career spanning 1983-1989.
In other news for the Lotus F1 Team, there has been confirmation from Companies House that its parent company has cleared some £30 million of debt, which had been held in as security the form of a lien on all the assets and buildings that the team owned.
The debt arose from money that the team’s part-owners, Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux or GENII Capital, were loaned by Snoras Bank in order to pay off another loan from Renault that they were given to keep the team afloat when the carmaker sold the team to them in 2010.
The debt was subsequently passed on to Proton, owner of the Lotus Car brand, when the Enstone outfit underwent its rebranding to revive the Lotus name.
With that debt cleared, it allows Renault to move one step closer to closing its majority takeover of the team where it will buy back the team it gave away.
A point not mentioned in all of the announcement details is whether Palmer’s appointment will be impacted by Renault’s expected takeover of the Lotus F1 Team. One assumes, however, that Palmer’s management has ensured all of the necessary clauses are clearly documented so as to avoid the contract being declared null and void under the team’s soon-to-be new ownership structure.
Image via XPB Images