Jolyon Palmer is confident he will not experience any rustiness when the 2016 season gets underway in Melbourne on March 20, despite not having raced competitively since the final 2014 GP2 Series weekend.
After winning Formula One’s official feeder series, the Briton was appointed to a reserve role at Lotus where he enjoyed a dozen free practice and testing outings last year.
Palmer was then promoted to a full-time race seat, with Renault recently confirming him alongside Kevin Magnussen. The 25-year-old dismisses the idea that spending one year on the sidelines will have hurt his pace.
“I feel race sharp,” Palmer said. “I’ll find out at the time when I’m in that moment but I feel good. I think race craft is something that comes naturally to you. It will be 16 months between me doing a race start when I do it in March but I’m looking forward to it and I’ve got no nerves.”
Renault underwent a winter of uncertainty in the wake of its Lotus takeover, as highlighted by Pastor Maldonado’s demise amidst sponsorship issues. Asked whether he had had any doubts about his future within the team, Palmer, whose promotion had been made official last October, replied:
“For me there wasn’t. When I signed my deal it was with Renault as well, I signed with Lotus and signed with Renault. So I knew where I stood, the uncertainty was just whether Renault was actually going to go through with buying the team.
“When that was confirmed it was a very exciting time and we’ll see now the level of dedication that they've got and it’s great to be a part of it.”