Lotus F1 Team this evening announced that their reserve driver Jolyon Palmer will race for them alongside Pastor Maldonado in 2016.
The Briton, who has been Lotus’ reserve driver since January after winning the GP2 Championship, drove for the team in Free Practice One sessions this season.
“We are very pleased to announce that exciting British racing talent Jolyon Palmer is promoted to a race seat with the team for next season,” said Gerard Lopez, Lotus Team Principal.
“We’ve seen Jolyon’s hard work and talent this season in the way he’s approached his third driver role and he is a really popular choice for the team.
“As well as having a great future ahead of him behind the wheel, Jolyon is an intelligent and highly marketable asset to the team. He deserves this opportunity, and everyone at Enstone is excited to see what he can achieve next year.”
Palmer said: “I’m obviously delighted that I’ll be racing in Formula 1 next year. 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!”
The 24-year-old, the first British GP2 Champion since reigning F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton in 2006, fills the vacancy left by Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman announced earlier this month that he was to race for rookie team Haas in 2016, having raced for Lotus since 2012.
Pastor Maldonado, who brings approximately $27m of sponsorship a year to Lotus from Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, has been retained by the team despite criticisms of his driving ability.
Image courtesy of Lotus F1 Team.