Jolyon Palmer: “It’s been a pretty steep learning curve”

2014 GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer got on track for the first time in his role as the official test and reserve driver for the Lotus F1 Team, and racked up 77 largely untroubled laps around the Circuit de Catalunya, and finished with the eighth fastest time.

The Briton felt the day went well for him, especially with the cold nature of the beginning of the day when grip levels were very low, but Palmer felt he learnt a lot on what he acknowledges is a steep learning curve.

“We racked up a lot of laps and I got a good feel for the car,” reflected Palmer. “It was very slippery first thing with the cold track, it was certainly very difficult with the hard tyres combined with the low temperatures! Through the day there was a good mix of conditions and set-ups to work with.

“There was a lot to take on board with the different settings for the car and the different programmes we were running, so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve. It’s been a very positive start for me and I hope my work has benefited the team. I loved being in the car and I can’t wait to get back out on track!”

Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane praised Palmer after his first day in the car, and revealed the team ran a number of aero runs throughout the day to get a better understanding about its Mercedes-powered E23 machine.

“Today was about data accumulation and Jolyon did a great job in his first time in the car, especially with particularly cold conditions to start the session here this morning,” said Permane.

“We’ve completed a number of aero runs with a variety of different data collection tools on the car as well as conducted a number of different tyre assessments to build a picture of what to expect from Pirelli’s latest tyres working on the E23. The car has run well again and overall we’re making good progress this week.”