Jolyon Palmer hoping his GP2 route into Formula One still exists
22:12 24 October 2014
Archant Norfolk 2010
Anyone signing up for a seat in Formula One for 2015 will be extremely thankful – because those queuing up to join or rejoin the grid would form a lengthy line.
"Jules has been instrumental in (our position in the championship)… So we owe it to him now to defend that"
And like the previous decade, near the head of that would be the winner of the GP2 championship – set up to be considered Formula One’s key feeder series and supposedly those drivers’ route into the promised land of an F1 seat.
It has to be too – given the drivers who win the GP2 series are not permitted to defend their title. Presumably that was because they would be too busy fending off offers from Formula One.
The reality of the situation however, is a little different.
Following on from successful graduations for Nico Rosberg (2005), Lewis Hamilton (2006), Timo Glock (2007 – with Nofolk’s Isport), Hulkenberg (2009), Pastor Maldonado (2010) and Romain Grosjean (2011), the well has run dry for 2012 victor and former local racer Davide Valsecchi, and last year’s champion Fabio Leimer.
Good week, bad week
• Pole position – Nico Hulkenberg: The German has been confirmed at Force India for next season, which is good news given an indifferent 2014 season.
• Stalling – Twin tusks: It looks like Lotus’ latest innovation will go the same way as their forward-facing exhausts – Enstone will trial a new, non-tusked nose at Austin.
So this year’s champion Jolyon Palmer – son of Snetterton owner and former F1 driver Jonathan – is hoping to buck the trend, vocal about the possible seats he has on the table but questionable over what might come off.
“We’re going to have to wait for a few weeks and see what happens, but I feel ready for F1,” said Palmer. “GP2 is the perfect series to feed into F1 – same tyres, same tracks, the cars are even now a similar speed, especially into the corners.
“I feel absolutely ready for it and I am confident it can happen.”
The reason why GP2 has been knocked off its perch seems quite obvious – other series carry just as much weight, especially when F1 teams seem to have greater influence over bringing their starlets through the likes of Formula Renault.
Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Dani Kvyat all took the alternative route – mostly backed by F1 teams in doing so.
Palmer deserves his chance too next season – but it seems he’s going to have to buck the trend to get it.
• Even taking into account their season to date, it’s been a bad week for Caterham.
That’s from the emergence of Kamui Kobayashi’s public concerns over the safety of his patched-up suspension in Russia, to Caterham Sports Limited – officially a supplier to their namesake – going into administration.
It was even reported the team’s cars have stopped off in Cologne rather than coming home to the UK – supposedly to make sure the bailiffs can’t get their hands on any more parts to sell on. That said, quite how much a patched up front suspension is worth is probably up for debate.
Joking aside, Caterham’s fortunes continue to be a disgrace and the team there, working so hard under ridiculous conditions, continue to deserve better.
• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey