Jolyon Palmer travels to Montréal, Canada this weekend (11-12 June) harbouring excitement and optimism ahead of his first race at what is considered a favourite for many drivers in the paddock – the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“I was there last year and I realised what a really cool city it is,” said Jolyon. “It’s also one which genuinely embraces Formula 1 coming to town so I can’t wait to return. The track itself looks great, with good overtaking opportunities. There has been good racing there in the past, so it’s exciting to be headed for my first race there.”
The Renault Sport Formula One Team will arrive on the Île Notre-Dame with a full complement of B spec powerplants for the first time, meaning Jolyon’s R.S.16 as well as team-mate Kevin Magnussen’s will be equipped with the upgraded unit. He is certain the car has taken strides with the advances made under the skin, having seen its capabilities in Magnussen’s hands over the Monaco weekend.
“The B spec unit looked like it made a good difference in Monaco, and Canada is a more power-hungry circuit so if it was a positive step in Monaco it should definitely help our cause in Montréal,” said the 25-year-old Southwater racer.
“The new engine mapping certainly looks to have been beneficial, and you need good traction in and out of the lower speed corners in Canada. It’s got more power too, so everything is good in that regard!
“We should be a good chunk more competitive. We’ll do everything we can to maximise the car around the track and we’ll be pushing all the way as usual!”
It was a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ in Monte Carlo for Jolyon as he caught the painted white lines of a zebra crossing in tricky conditions at a sodden Circuit de Monaco. Since then, he’s been putting in the hours in the simulator at the team’s base at Enstone and even offering to pick up the tools as the team prepares the cars for the flyaway.
“We went over the data and it looks like it was the lower grip as I crossed the white lines of the zebra crossing that meant my wheels spun as I pushed to accelerate,” explained the former GP2 champion. “The car was pitched sideways and I collected the barriers. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time. Aside from a bit of bruising on my feet, it was just my ego and the car that had to suffer.
“I have been at Enstone since Monaco, for some time in the Sim but I did also offer to get the spanners out to help build the new chassis… I’m very grateful for all the hard work that goes in at the track and back at Enstone and Viry – I did more than my fair share of damage to the car in Monaco.”
Free Practice 1 gets underway at 10am local time on Friday and FP2 commences at 2pm. Free Practice 3 starts at 10am Saturday with Qualifying following at 1pm and the race at 2pm on Sunday.