Jolyon Palmer made a very competitive F1 debut in today’s official test at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, despite restricted running due to technical issues
Driving for Sahara Force India, 23-year-old Palmer posted the fourth quickest time late in the day, finishing just 0.004s behind 2014-championship runner-up Nico Rosberg.
Palmer was forced to sit out the action for the majority of the day with the car twice halting on circuit with technical problems. He was able to get back on track for the final 30 minutes of the test, completing a total of 37 laps.
Palmer said: “I really enjoyed my first experience at the wheel of a Formula One car. I always had the ambition to drive a Formula One car: it was surreal when I first got out of the pits, but after the first moment I was just focusing on getting the job done for the team and doing my best. Despite a few technical issues early on, in the end we managed to get back on track and have a solid hour of running, getting up to speed fairly quickly.
“What really stood out for me is the power delivery of a Formula One car, compared to what I am used to in GP2. I heard lots about it all year, but to actually experience it first hand, feeling it as I drove, was impressive. Knowing the track in advance helps only a little as you get to the various corners and drive through them at completely different speeds to what you are used to; but not having to get to know the layout made it possible to just concentrate on our testing programme.
“I have learnt a lot working with the team, seeing how everyone operates, and I am really happy about today’s experience. Sahara Force India is a team that gives young drivers good chances and I would love to get a role with them. They developed Paul Di Resta into a good racer, created a meaningful FP1 programme for Jules Bianchi and generally do really good work with their reserve drivers.”