A brief biography of Renault driver Jolyon Palmer, including his career history and Formula One statistics
Jolyon Palmer is one of a number of second-generation racers now lining up in his own right on the Formula One grid. Jolyon's father Jonathan Palmer took part in 83 races in the 1980s for Williams, RAM, Zakspeed and Tyrrell and was subsequently a part of the BBC's coverage of the sport first as a pit lane reporter and subsequently as a commentator. He now runs a business that owns several UK racing circuits including Brand Hatch.
With that family background - Jolyon's younger brother Will is also a racer in Formula Renault - there seems little doubt that Jolyon was always destined to make it into Formula One. He started racing in karts but quickly moved into single seaters and in 2005 was already competing in the T Car championship, a saloon car series for drivers aged 14 to 17.
In 2007 Palmer moved to Formula Palmer Audi, the series that his father had himself created nine years previously. He took two wins that year at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park but missed the final two rounds of the championship due to an abdominal injury suffered in a quad biking accident at his home which almost proved fatal as he lost a kidney, punctured a lung, and suffered liver damage and heavy blood loss.
Waking from a three-day coma, Palmer's first thought was about missing his next race, but he returned for the 2008 season, claiming a victory at Spa-Franchorchamps along with ten further podiums on his way to third place in the championship. He then moved to the short-lived FIA Formula Two Championship and was runner-up in the 2010 championship, which opened the door for a move to the GP2 Series.
His first podium came in the 2011 GP2 final race. The following season saw him alongside Marcus Ericsson at iSport, but he was beset by technical gremlins until a brand new chassis propelled him to a dream victory in Monaco. he then spent a year at Carlin with Felipe Nasr as his team-mate, but it was at DAMS in 2014 that he suddenly burst into life: success at the first round put him into the lead of the championship, and he would never lose it. Wins at Bahrain, Monaco, Monza and Sochi together with eight further podiums during the year meant that he had a nearly 50 points in hand over Stoffel Vandoorne by the end of the year.
That didn't immediately pave the way into Formula One, and Palmer spent the following year as test and reserve driver for the Lotus team, making his first GP weekend appearance in FP1 at the third round of the 2015 season in China. His hard work was duly rewarded with the confirmation at the end of the year that he would compete for Renault full-time in 2016 alongside another second-generation racer, Kevin Magnussen.
2016 proved to be tough for Palmer, the high point being a 10th in Malaysia, but for 2017 he will retain his seat with Renault to partner Nico Hulkenberg.