MotorSport Vision chief executive Jonathan Palmer has spoken enthusiastically of his company's partnership with Williams in the conception and running of the new FIA Formula Two Championship next year – with the champion set to be rewarded with a test in one of the hugely successful Grove-based outfit's F1 cars.
The organisation behind the return of the traditional grand prix feeder category – which has not run under the 'Formula Two' name since 1984 – has been put into the hands of MSV [see separate story – click here
], and Palmer, who himself clinched the series laurels back in its penultimate year in 1983, is confident future F1 stars will result from the collaboration.
“Most importantly, with the whole objective of Formula Two being to provide a close step to Formula One, we really wanted a close relationship with a Formula One team for the project,” the former Zakspeed and Tyrrell ace confessed. “We are thrilled and very privileged to have Williams F1 as our partner in this.
“Williams has a dedicated six-man design team led by Patrick Head, which will be responsible for the design of the new Formula Two car. The benefit of having a team of the calibre of Williams involved is that it allows for so much more scope when designing the car.
“It's interesting how Williams, Formula Two and MSV have come together now; it's the reverse of the situation of when it all started for me. I was in Formula Two with Ralt Honda in 1982 and 1983 and was test driving for Williams.
“I had been given the chance of being the test driver for either Williams or McLaren after winning the British F3 Championship, and choosing Williams was a great decision as I did a lot of testing and was able to work very closely with both Frank and Patrick.
“They also gave me my first-ever grand prix drive, in a third car in the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1983 alongside Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite. It was a huge step for me, and I was very appreciative.”
Palmer is now optimistic that by joining forces with a team that has secured some 16 world championship trophies in the highest echelon – seven drivers' crowns and nine constructors' – other young guns will be able to benefit from the same kind of opportunity that he had.
The new Formula Two Championship will award points all the way down to tenth place – rather than just to the top eight as is the case in Formula One – and the eventual champion will receive a fully-fledged test with Williams to evaluate his or her potential to graduate to the top flight. Subject to FIA approval, the title-winner and possibly more drivers too will also be awarded their F1 super-licence should they be successful in procuring either a racing or test driving role in F1.