Young British driver and current GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer has been given the best possible birthday present today as it has just been announced that he will join the Lotus F1 team this year in the third driver role. Palmer initially wanted to find a full time race seat in F1 for this year, although with the demise of the Caterham and Marussia teams late last year it was clear earning a race drive for this year in F1 would require a lot of funding. Whilst Palmer can bring funding to a team and is the current GP2 champion, this still wasn't enough to earn a race seat. Palmer has at least made the step into F1 this year with this third driver role with the Lotus team, a role which will include traveling to every race and will conduct simulator work for the team during the year. Palmer tested for the Sahara-Force India team in the post season test last year in Abu Dhabi, impressing during his runs in the car. Palmer spoke to the Lotus F1 press department about his deal "It sounds great! It’s the dream to be with a Formula 1 team and now I can say I am a Formula 1 driver. I tested with a Force India last year which was already a dream but now to have a full role with a team, a prestigious team as well like Lotus F1 Team, is an amazing opportunity." He added "My main aim is to race in Formula 1 so I’ll be working as hard as I can on every aspect of my new job! Working as a Third Driver is the next best thing to being a race driver. I’ll be working with the engineers throughout the season whether I’m in the car or not. There is a lot to learn and I’ll be working to make a valuable contribution to the E23’s development. Every time I’m in the car, I’ll try to give my very best. It’s not just being quick, but also working with the engineers and the team as well." Palmer will be looking to impress the team this year as he attempts to secure a race drive in F1 next year. For now he will be pleased he has finally secured a third driver role in F1, which will give him the perfect platform to impress as he looks for a race drive next year. Thanks to Lotus F1 Team for the interview with Palmer also. What are your thoughts on this announcement? Please feel free to comment below.