After a week of testing in Barcelona that he himself described as “a little bit disastrous”, Renault driver Jolyon Palmer is hoping that the experience he was able to compile last season will help him in his transition to a full-time race seat this year.
The 25-year-old suffered from a number of reliability issues on the first two days of the first test, limiting him to just 79 laps over the first week. This week Palmer was again hit by problems on the penultimate day of running to leave him with a total of 177 laps after three days.
That puts Palmer on the backfoot in terms of his preparation for his first Grand Prix in just two weeks time, relying more than ever on the track time he was able to get last season.
“It’s really important,” agreed Palmer when asked how much of a boost his time spent as Renault’s test and development driver in 2015 was proving to be now that he had been promoted into a full-time race seat alongside Kevin Magnussen for 2016.
“There’s a lot of procedures for driving a Formula One car, they’re quite technical now, so it’s been very important for me with such a lack of running at the moment that at least I’ve got the experience from last year to fall back on.
“That’s why overall I don’t feel too behind,” he added. “I’m quite confident that I’ll turn up in Melbourne and it’ll be alright.”
Palmer took part in practice sessions during 13 of last year’s Grand Prix events which means he’s happy with the overall feel of the car and the operation of the hi-tech steering wheel.
However he admits that there’s still some parts of the Formula One experience that just can’t be prepared for by testing and practice.
“To be honest, it’s the race,” he said. “It’s going to be busy for us in the races – race management like the starts and pit stops, these are the sort of things that if you don’t do too many laps then you can’t do too many laps.
“Overall I don’t feel too bad, I feel like I’m an okay position on it, but you always want one more.”
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