The Lotus F1 Team have confirmed that they are looking at a number of exciting drivers to replace Romain Grosjean next season.
It was confirmed earlier this week that the Frenchman has been signed up by the Haas F1 Team as their lead driver for their debut year in Formula One in 2016. The question now turns to who will partner Pastor Maldonado?
It was announced earlier this week that Renault and Lotus F1 Team Ltd have signed a letter of intent that will see Renault purchase a 65% shareholding in the Enstone based outfit which will also see the team renamed as Renault F1 Team. The French manufacturer will be the ones to decide who will drive for the team as it is possible that although he has a contract in place it is not guaranteed that Maldonado will keep his seat.
Lotus F1 Team test and reserve driver Jolyon Palmer has to be a front runner to replace Grosjean next season as the Englishman has an extremely close relationship with the team. Palmer who won the 2014 GP2 championship joined the Enstone team in January and since than he has driven for the outfit during multiple Free Practice sessions replacing both Maldonado and Grosjean.
In his role at test and reserve driver Palmer attends all Grand Prix with the outfit which includes all of the driver briefings. Palmer has also carried out extensive mileage in the team simulator in Enstone.
Palmer has shown that not only is he more than capable of driving a Formula One car but the management team have also been extremely impressed with his level of feedback.
Palmer set a new record on his way to the GP2 championship as he scored the most amount of points ever in the championship with 276 points. The Englishman was back behind the wheel of the Lotus E23 Hybrid in Japan last week but due to rain got very limited running under his belt.
Palmer is expected to be back in the cockpit next weekend at the Sochi Autodrome in Russia.
Palmer deserves a place on the Formula One grid he has proven himself to the management at Enstone this season and Renault will also have been keeping an eye on his progress as Paddock Eye understands that the management team at Lotus put in place by Gravity will be replaced by Renault’s own back room team with Genii Capital founder and co-owner Gerard Lopez remaining at the team retaining a small shareholding in the team.
Palmer would be a great addition to the Formula One grid and would boost the British interest in the sport.