Palmer: Rookies are ready to step up

Date published: February 9 2016

Renault’s new driver Jolyon Palmer has issued a warning to the experienced drivers, saying that rookies such as himself, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr are ready to begin the new era.

According to Palmer, Toro Rosso’s Verstappen silenced his critics by scoring an impressive 49 points in the 2015 season, making him the youngest driver to ever score World Championship points.

“They [older drivers] have pretty much been shut up because Verstappen did such a good job,” the Brit told City A.M.

“I mean he made some mistakes which maybe the older guys wouldn’t have made but the raw pace was definitely there.

“To go straight into a top team and fight for the drivers’ title might be slightly different, although Lewis Hamilton showed in 2007 that you can do it.

“It just shows what rookies can do. Verstappen did surprisingly well really because he was so young and inexperienced and Sainz did well. Felipe Nasr had a good season too and it shows that rookies are ready to step up. Hopefully I can continue that.”

Following the departure of Pastor Maldanado from Renault, Palmer admitted there was a lot of uncertainty in the latter part of last season but that he is still grateful that he gets to make his Formula One debut with a competitive car.

“It was a bit messy at the end with Lotus last year but I can only say good things about the Renault change: they have got big ambition, they have got commitment and motivation to win the Championship again,” the 25-year-old said.

“That is so exciting for me and it’s just an exciting time. First year, expectations are pretty low because of the late change and the whole takeover happened very late but it is all part of a long-term plan.

“It’s frustrating because you want to be racing. I won GP2 so I’ve proven everything that I could in the lower series and I was ready to move up.

“I’m in Formula One and I’m just looking forward to driving my car as fast as I can and to see where I come.”