GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer will join Lotus as the team’s third driver in 2015.
Palmer, who took four wins on the way to the 2014 GP2 title, will attend all 20 races on the calendar, as well as driving in a ‘significant number’ of free practice sessions for Lotus throughout the year.
“I’m delighted to be moving into F1 with Lotus this year as third driver and I’m very grateful for the opportunity they have given me,” said Palmer, who first tested Formula 1 machinery at the 2014 post-season test in Abu Dhabi, driving for Force India.
“My goal has been to become a race driver in a competitive F1 team for 2016 and Lotus F1 Team is a great opportunity for me, particularly with Mercedes engines now.
“To be able to learn with a major F1 team by working closely with them in every area and getting a lot of mileage in the car is the best way possible, as Valtteri Bottas proved.
“I am delighted to be joining Lotus at such an exciting time and my objective is to earn a long term future with them.
While Palmer admits he is disappointed that he will not be racing this season, he is hopeful that his reserve role will lead to a race drive in Formula 1 in 2016.
“Understandably, I’m a bit sad that I won’t be competing as racing is my favourite part of being a driver, obviously, but I have to look at the bigger picture,” he explained.
“With no race seats available this year, I will still be driving a Formula 1 car, I’ll be part of a prestigious team, one that will move forward.
“My goal is to have a year out of racing now, working to be back racing in Formula 1, in 2016.”
Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez added: “Jolyon is a fantastic talent and a very credible driver to fulfil the role of third driver at Lotus.
“Romain and Pastor are both GP2 Series Champions, so we know what a fantastic proving ground GP2 provides.
“For Jolyon to have enjoyed such a successful season as he took his title last year shows his superb potential for the future.
“We are looking forward to seeing him in team colours and behind the wheel of our 2015 car, the E23 Hybrid, which represents an exciting new era for Lotus.”
This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Images courtesy of Lotus F1 Team