Jolyon Palmer graduates to GP2 with Arden
2010 F2 runner-up to partner Josef Kral for GP2 Asia and Main Series campaigns
2010 FIA Formula Two Championship runner-up Jolyon Palmer will graduate to GP2 for the forthcoming season after signing a deal to contest both the Asia and Main Series championships with Arden International.
Palmer's progression into GP2 follows an outstanding campaign in Formula Two in which he claimed five race wins and ten podiums, and remained in contention for the title until the final round of the year. He also recorded the most successful weekend of any driver, taking a superb two pole positions and two race wins at Monza in May.
Jolyon, who only recently turned 20, has previous experience of GP2 having joined the series' official winter tests at Abu Dhabi in November last year - where he impressed by regularly breaking into the top ten despite being one of the youngest drivers in the field. Arden meanwhile have a proud history in GP2, having won races in every year of the F1-feeder series' history.
"I'm really excited to be joining the Arden GP2 Team for 2011, and I can't wait for the season to start," Jolyon enthused. "It's obviously going to be very tough, as indeed it should be, but Arden are a very good team who have won races in every year of GP2 and I'm confident I can do a good job.
"It's going to be difficult, because last year in F2 I was one of the more experienced guys and now I'm a rookie again in a series with some of the world's best young drivers, but given time and experience I hope I can be challenging at the very sharp end. I wouldn't have entered if I didn't believe in myself and you can't improve unless you're competing against the top drivers in the world, so I'm looking forward to rising to the challenge.
"I feel confident that two seasons of Formula Two have given me a very good grounding and really helped me develop as a driver, especially through the data sharing concept which really is the best way for young drivers to learn.
"Now I really need to reward the faith shown in me by Arden through my performances - I need to be on it from the outset and start the Main Series on the right foot. Ultimately my goal is Formula One, and with a lot of hard work, application and of course results hopefully that will be a realistic possibility for me."
Arden founder Mr Horner commented: "We are delighted to have Josef and Jolyon join our team for GP2 Asia and Main Series in 2011. Both drivers are young but have a lot of talent, which I'm sure we will see throughout the year. Despite Josef's modest attendance in GP2 last year, he has shown a good understanding of the GP2 car and collaborated well with the team during the Abu Dhabi test. Jolyon demonstrated strength during the post-season tests and will no doubt be a front-running rookie. We look forward to a successful year together."
Formula Two Series Director Jonathan Palmer said: "I am obviously delighted Jolyon will be racing in GP2 this year with Arden. His strong rookie GP2 testing performance in Abu Dhabi was sufficiently encouraging to Jolyon, the GP2 teams and me to demonstrate that F2 is not only very competitive but also provides excellent experience to lead directly to GP2 for a young driver. It is clearly going to be a big challenge and I'm sure like most drivers he will need several seasons to reach his peak. Arden is great team for Jolyon to be with; they have a great history and proven ability to help drivers develop."
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