Sparks Fly - Q&A with Jolyon Palmer

After a point-score in Malaysia and a strong race in Suzuka, Jolyon Palmer is feeling confident heading to the United States.

What do you reckon to the Circuit of The Americas…
It looks like a great track and it looks like one of the best modern layouts so I’m looking forward to getting out there. In the sim it seems quite tricky with a nice bit of undulation, some blind corners and some good meaty fast corners so it should be a good challenge to drive. I’ve never driven it before so it’s going to be another occasion when I learn it on the Friday.

You seemed to learn Suzuka pretty quickly? What’s the trick?
Obviously we do a lot of simulator work and I watch a lot of on board laps. Suzuka really gelled as it’s a fantastic circuit so it was certainly a rewarding weekend. I thought it would be difficult but the circuit really came to me. If I’m honest I did expect it to be a bit more of a challenge but I’m in a good place with the car and that confidence always helps as you can focus on learning the track rather than fighting with handling or set-up that doesn’t give you what you want.

You were pretty happy with your P12 in Japan?
I think it was a very good performance and we’re almost in the top half of the field on pure race performance now. We had a good strategy and strong pace; everything is progressing a lot really. Had we had the same amount of people retiring from the race as there has been in previous outings, we would have been scoring some strong points in Japan.

Where do you think the pace improvement is coming from?
We know a lot more about the car and something the team has done really well this year is develop every aspect of how we utilise the car on track. This includes how we use the tyres, how we look at strategy and so on. From myself, I feel stronger and more confident with every race and that’s what you expect in a first season.

It’s a good place to be. If you look at the race our pace was pretty comparable to Felipe [Massa] in the Williams and if you’d said that at the beginning of the season there would have been some raised eyebrows. It wasn’t a perfect race – I did get caught-up in traffic quite a lot – but everything else was quite smooth. We had good pace, good strategy, kept the tyres alive and that’s what we’ve been doing quite well the last two races. We’ve managed to jump into the midfield..

What are your thoughts on the good ol’ USofA?
I love it! Austin itself is a fantastic city, the countryside in Texas is superb and the people are so welcoming. There is a lot more Formula 1 knowledge than I expected as you always think NASCAR or Indycar when you think of motorsport in the US.

My problem with the US is the food; there are too many temptations! This is tough as I have to watch my weight so closely. I’d love to be tucking into ribs and burgers all the time! Aside from trying to keep away from the food, it really is a nice place to go racing. It’s something different, especially to be in Texas, there’s a great atmosphere there. Last year we had huge downpours, which was a shame so I’m hoping for some good weather this year and a big crowd!