In the excitement over the talent of Max Verstappen, the slight disbelief that Stoffel Vandoorne won’t be in F1 in 2016 and the return to the sport of another talent, Kevin Magnussen. Not to forget the likes of Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas, it may be easy to forget another young talent that will be lining up on the 2016 grid, Jolyon Palmer.
Immediately, it is important to note that Palmer joins Hamilton, Rosberg, Hulkenberg and Grosjean on the grid as also being a GP2 champion, having won the championship in 2014.
Unfortunately for Palmer, he was unable to secure a race seat in Formula One for 2015, having to settle instead for a test and reserve driver role for Lotus. Although it may not have be seen as ideal, it has ultimately been the perfect place for Palmer to be in, now finding himself as a Grand Prix driver for a team that has manufacturer backing, the dream drive for any up and coming driver.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, many may still focus on the likes of Verstappen, Bottas and Magnussen during 2016. This, in an odd way, is a perfect situation for Palmer to impress the F1 community.
If he regularly beats his teammate, Magnussen, and can hold his own against the likes of Verstappen, Sainz and Kvyat (all who have at least one full season of F1 under their belt), that will surely build Palmer’s reputation massively in the sport, and hopefully securing him a long term drive at a team like Renault.
Although he may not be exceptionally quick, Palmer will hopefully come across as consistent. Something he was able to achieve in GP2 in 2014, claiming twelve podiums, of which four were race victories, out of twenty two races. Not to forget the further eight points finishes he claimed during that season.
So, although he may not be blazing into Formula One like Max Verstappen did in 2015, it is well worth watching Jolyon Palmer throughout 2016 who has all the potential of becoming a special and enjoyable driver to watch, hopefully for many years to come.