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Force India to run GP2 champion Palmer in Abu Dhabi test

19 Nov 2014

Force India have announced that they will give 2014 GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer his debut F1 run at next week’s season-closing test in Abu Dhabi.

The 23-year-old, who became the first Briton since Lewis Hamilton to win the GP2 crown when he sealed the title with an event to spare at Sochi last month, said he was delighted to have been handed a chance by the Silverstone team.

“Sahara Force India has shown their faith in me by offering this opportunity and I am looking forward to repaying their trust in Abu Dhabi," Palmer said.

“I have worked very hard for a chance like this and I want to help the team get the most from this test session. This is a team that has always promoted talent and I hope this opportunity can lead to bigger things in the future.”

Palmer, whose father Jonathan made 82 Grand Prix starts in the 1980s, will spend a full day in the Mercedes-powered VJM07 next Tuesday before handing the car over to 22-year-old Australian Spike Goddard on the second and final day of the test on Wednesday.

Goddard has competed in the FIA European F3 Championship for the past two years, having won the rookie class of the British Formula Three Championship in his debut season in 2012.

Speaking of his maiden F1 test opportunity, Goddard said: “I would like to thank Sahara Force India for this incredible opportunity. Every young racing driver dreams to be at the wheel of a Formula One car and I am very excited to be one of the very few who gets to fulfil this dream.

“The test is an important stage in the preparations for 2015 and I hope my contribution will be useful for the team to get a head start for next season.”

Force India says its decision to run to debutants in Abu Dhabi “reinforces its commitment to offering young, talented drivers an opportunity on the biggest stage in motorsport”.

“I’m pleased that we can conclude our season by giving two promising youngsters their first taste of Formula One,” said Force India team principal Vijay Mallya.

“As a team we have a strong track record of identifying up-and-coming prospects and giving them valuable mileage and experience in our cars. I have been following Jolyon’s progress this season in GP2 and he is clearly a big talent that deserves a chance in Formula One.

“Spike has also worked hard to get this chance and it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills. I wish Jolyon and Spike all the best for a successful couple of days in Abu Dhabi.”