‘Pumped up’ Palmer eyes ‘strong weekend’ in Spain

© XPB 

Jolyon Palmer says he is “pumped up for a strong weekend” at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the Renault rookie keen to score his first points of the season in Barcelona.

After a promising debut in Australia, Palmer has experienced a challenging trio of races amid reliability issues and lack of pace. Unlike team-mate Kevin Magnussen, the Briton left Russia empty-handed but he was at least able to find solace in Renault making a key modification to his R.S.16.

“The team changed the floor of my car on Friday night [in Sochi] and for Saturday onwards the balance felt normal and consistent again, which was a positive for the rest of the weekend and hopefully looking forward too,” Palmer said.

“We’ve made progress with the car and I’m happy with the balance and how it drives again. Kevin scored points for the team in Russia so we know what’s possible. It’s the first race in Europe and at a track we all know really well. I’m pretty pumped-up for a strong weekend.”

Palmer has already raced at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as the Spanish Grand Prix venue features in many junior categories. What's more, the 25-year-old already spent four days behind the wheel of the R.S.16 at Montmelo over the winter. This previous experience should help Palmer assess the flurry of evolutions Renault has in the pipeline for next weekend.

“I’ve been there many times and it’s a track that most Formula 1 drivers know extremely well, even just from the pre-season testing we’ve already done there this year.

“From a driving point of view we know exactly what to expect, however it’s traditionally the first circuit where you see a lot of updates brought so you can see some differences in relative competitiveness depending on who’s got updates, and how well those updates work.”

Renault has confirmed that Palmer will sit out the opening free practice in Barcelona, with reserve driver Esteban Ocon scheduled to drive in his place.

The 2014 GP2 Series will also skip the post-Spanish Grand Prix test where the French manufacturer plans on sampling its B-spec power unit for the very first time.

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