Palmer eyeing ‘long term’ IndyCar switch for 2018 (Update)

Palmer won the 2014 GP2 (now F2) title
Palmer won the 2014 GP2 (now F2) title

UPDATE Palmer looks washed up and out of his depth in F1 right now. Which is unfair to a driver with a GP2 championship – F1’s feeder series – on his resume. Like Rossi and Chilton before him Palmer is just another on the long list of talented drivers chewed up and spat out by F1 because in F1 you must buy your ride, and if you can't, you're out. You have to buy your ride in IndyCar too, but at about 1/20th the cost.

Which is part of the reason why a move to IndyCar could work.

Palmer is a good racer. Winning in GP2 let alone taking the championship is not the mark of a journeyman racer. Past champions include no less than Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Hulkenberg.

In 2014 Palmer beat the highly rated Stoffel Vandoorne as well as Rossi, Conor Daly and 2016 champ Pierre Gasly to the title. Despite one and a half difficult seasons with Renault, Palmer has not forgotten how to race and to win.

GP2/F2 is perhaps the ultimate spec open wheel racing series. Chassis, engines, gearboxes and more are standardized across all teams. The formula demands a driver and team capable of maximizing what they have and separates the great drivers from the good. Sound familiar?

The relative performances of Chilton and Rossi in GP2 and IndyCar make a compelling case. Palmer’s success in GP2 and his time in F1 can be considered a strong grounding for a foray into IndyCar.

Despite having never raced on an IndyCar circuit, Rossi in particular has marked himself out as an IndyCar champion in waiting. Excluding their respective stints in F1, Palmer has the potential to be every bit as good as Rossi.

Talent is not enough to secure an IndyCar seat these days. But that is not necessarily a barrier to Palmer forging an alternative career in America. Like Max Chilton, Palmer has a wealthy dad who has been ever present during his ascent to Formula 1.

Palmer’s father – Jonathan – is CEO and majority shareholder in Motor Sport Vision, the company that owns most of the motor racing circuits in the UK. The former F1 driver himself is also very well connected within the motor sport community. Thus finding a budget to get Jolyon launched in IndyCar should not present a major issue.

The IndyCar driver market is entering a period of serious flux ahead of 2018. But teams like Schmidt Peterson and Chip Ganassi Racing spring to mind.

The former is losing patience with Mikhail Aleshin’s financial backers and Ganassi are aiming to run 2 cars full-time next season and Chip has yet to announce a 2nd driver alongside Scott Dixon. Palmer could fit the bill for either team if budgets can be agreed and secured.

Undoubtedly there could be plenty of options if the price and circumstances are right for Palmer to join IndyCar.

Could Jolyon Palmer nab the 4th Team Penske seat?
Could Jolyon Palmer nab the 4th Team Penske seat?

09/28/17 (GMM) Jolyon Palmer has admitted he is eyeing a potential switch to Indycar for 2018.

After a tough couple of seasons with Renault, the son of former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer will be replaced by Carlos Sainz next year.

Palmer, 26, admits it could be the end of his F1 career for now.

"If I leave formula one at the end of the year, a new chapter will begin," he said in Malaysia.

"I will do everything to ensure the project is for the long term."

The leading rumor is that Palmer and his father are putting together a package to move across the Atlantic to America's top open wheeler category.

"Formula one is an excellent series and I would like to stay," he said, "but if you do not have financial guarantees or you're not one of the top drivers, then every year you feel the pressure.

"I want to be in a series where I have a long-term contract and can enjoy the racing.

"Let's see what happens. At the moment I don't have a plan, only different options that need to be considered."

Palmer has been linked with a move to Williams, but insiders do not believe he is a serious candidate to replace Felipe Massa next year.

Palmer said: "That team has a vacancy that several drivers are being linked to. There are chances and I'll do my best, but I don't want to rely only on that option."

Fellow F1 driver Romain Grosjean says he sympathizes with Palmer's situation, but told the British driver to look ahead to a bright future.

"One thing life has taught me already is that when F1 stops, there is still a life," he is quoted by Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

"Yes, your social media is less but you still have friends and family. And there are many good series apart from formula one so that you can do what you love," the Frenchman added.

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