Formula Two heads to Brands Hatch this weekend, we took the time to catch up with one of Britain’s rising stars who just so happens to be leading the championship at the moment, Jolyon Palmer.
It’s been quite a rise to prominence for Palmer, who having worked his way up through Karting, T Cars, Formula Audi moved to Formula Two in 2009. After what was a mediocre season only scoring 3 points from 16 races the son of ex-F1 driver Jonathon Palmer upped his game over the winter.
Speaking to thecheckeredflag.co.uk we asked him if he expected he would be doing so well this year: “Thought I could do well as winter testing was a real turning point for me and I started climbing the time sheets.”
Despite dominating a lot of this years races the 19-year-old has surprised even himself. “I am very surprised to be doing as well as I am doing, but now I am more confident and feel I can continue good form.”
Good form is something he will definitely be looking to carry on as the FIA-backed championship heads to Great Britain.
“Winning at my home race is the obvious target,” says Palmer, “but now I need to look more at the bigger picture so if I don't win but I manage to extend my championship lead then that will still be a good weekend.”
Despite the great results of the year which has left Palmer leading the championship by 26 points, nearest rival Dean Stoneman is closing in.
“Dean Stoneman has been quick all year and is my championship rival.” admits Palmer.
Asked about his other rivals for the weekend ahead he replied: “Will Bratt was very quick in testing and other drivers like Jack Clarke, Benjamin Bailly and Kazim Vasiliaskas have all started to hit form as well, so it is hard to tell at the moment.”
Looking back over the season so far Palmer has a total of four wins and eight podiums, asked about his favourite race of the year he replied:” Definitely Monza weekend was the best of my career so far. 2 Poles and 2 wins. Silverstone was special as it was my first win and also Portimao looked like it was going to be as good as Monza until I had a problem with the tracking in race 2.”
In the build up to the World Touring Car Championship / Formula Two double header at Brands Hatch Palmer swapped cars with touring car ace Rob Huff, something he felt was a good experience.
“I was pleasantly surprised with the touring car, whilst the power wasn't anything like what I'm used to, it was fun to drive, it moved around a lot and had excellent brakes. Very enjoyable to try something new and I hadn't driven a tin top since my T Car days in 2006.”
Although it seems that Palmer is well on his way to a successful single-seater career we asked him if he would ever consider a switch to World Touring Cars.
“Single seaters is all I'm thinking about at the moment. WTCC is a great championship and having driven Rob's Chevrolet I can see how fun a race with 20 something cars would be, however single seaters is my aim and I'm closer than ever to fulfilling my dream of driving a Formula 1 car.”