Q & A with Jonathan Palmer

The revival of Formula Two is one of the most intriguing stories of 2009, with the FIA hoping that the new low-cost category will revolutionise junior single-seater racing

Q & A with Jonathan Palmer

Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision organisation won the tender to run F2, and he attended the Autosport International Show today to reveal the latest developments in the build-up to the new season.

Q. The revival of the Formula Two championship is an exciting prospect. How are the preparations going?

Jonathan Palmer: Formula Two is very exciting indeed and I think it's going to be the motorsport success story of 2009. It's a very big challenge. When the FIA invited tenders for the new championship back in July it looked a mission impossible - to be able to produce a car with 400 horsepower, to 2005 Formula One safety standards, and to be able to run it on 200,000 Euros looked impossible.

But we did apply, we were thrilled to have won the tender in September. The hard work was well under way then. We've got the Williams F1 team designing the car, led by Patrick Head. It's a quite remarkable car, really beautiful, light, compact. The power unit is an Audi turbo engine with 450bhp on overboost, there are going to be 16 races arranged over eight weekends - five of those with the World Touring Cars.

Q. How much have the FIA been involved in things so far?

JP: Formula Two is something the FIA are really enthusiastic about. They're very concerned that young drivers who are trying to reach Formula One should have a far more cost-effective way of doing so than currently exists.

GP2 is a marvellous championship.The cars are superb, they're quick, the teams that run them are very expert, but it is a huge amount of money - 1.5 million Euros is what a driver needs to have a front-running GP2 car. You compare that to 200,000 (Euro) for Formula Two and it's a no brainer.

Q. How pleased have you been with the level of interest from high-quality, proven drivers?

JP: I'm very pleased indeed. I think it's very significant that Red Bull have chosen Formula Two and are actually going to have three cars in it - there's another driver who is a great talent that hasn't been announced yet. Having got Robert Wickens, Julien Jousse, Sebastian Hohenthal and some top drivers from Formula Palmer Audi, I think even in our first year we're going to have a stronger line-up in Formula Two than anything else.

Q. How soon do you expect all the places on the grid to be taken?

JP: We've already got 16 drivers committed. We were originally only going to do 20 cars, but I could see pretty early on that it was going to be a big success, and we've got 24 that we're going to run - that's the maximum.

I could see the level of interest we had. I'm sure there are lots of drivers out there who would love to find 1.5 million (Euro) for GP2, 750,000 for Formula Renault 3.5 or 650,000 for F3, but just don't understand how difficult it is to find that sort of money in the current climate.

I think that by the time Formula Two is full in a couple of weeks, there are going to be a lot of drivers that feel that they've missed the boat. It's taken off far quicker than I've expected, there's some great talent in there and it's going to be looked at very seriously by the Formula One teams.

The other thing is that everyone knows each driver has the same opportunity - the guy that wins it is going to be the best driver out there and that's important because he's got to go and do a good job in the Williams.

shares
comments
F2 grid to expand to 24 cars
Previous article

F2 grid to expand to 24 cars

Next article

Al-Attiyah fastest in sixth Dakar stage

Al-Attiyah fastest in sixth Dakar stage
Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past Plus

Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past

Rising sportscar star Adam Smalley had to pinch himself when offered the chance to drive the car that won the world’s most famous enduro in 1987

Historics
Sep 6, 2022
Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return Plus

Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return

The iconic Lola name is being relaunched after it was taken over by new ownership. Part of that reboot is a planned return to racing, though the exact details of this are still to be finalised - though its new owner does have a desire to bring the brand back to the Le Mans 24 Hours. But romanticism doesn't appear to be the driving force behind this renewed project...

General
Jul 14, 2022
Rating the best drivers of the century so far Plus

Rating the best drivers of the century so far

Autosport's Top 50 feature has been a staple of the magazine for the past two decades since its first appearance in 2002. Here are the drivers that have featured most prevalently during that time

General
Jan 7, 2022
The best motorsport moments of 2021 Plus

The best motorsport moments of 2021

Motorsport produced one of its greatest years of all-time in 2021 despite a backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 challenges and an ever-changing racing landscape. Through the non-stop action Autosport has collected the finest moments from the past 12 months to highlight the incredible drama and joy motorsport generates

General
Dec 31, 2021
The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers Plus

The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers

Making it in motorsport can be tough, and sometimes drivers move elsewhere before their best chance arrives. Here are some of those who made it back

General
Dec 26, 2021
The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes Plus

The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes

It’s rarely mentioned when it comes to assessing the best national contests, but the Brazilian Stock Car series that reaches its climax this weekend has an ever-growing appeal. Its expanding roster of ex-Formula 1 names has helped to draw in new fans, but it's the closeness of competition that keeps them watching

General
Dec 10, 2021
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021