After two consecutive drivers' titles (Romain Grosjean in 2011 and Davide Valsecchi in 2012) and a teams' crown in 2012, DAMS did not meet with the same success in 2013 due mainly to poor results in the first half of the season. The French squad then made a brilliant fight back and its fourth place overall in the teams' classification is ample proof (as if it were needed!) that it is a front-runner in GP2. DAMS is extremely motivated to reconquer the titles in 2014, and it has opted for experience and continuity with on Jolyon Palmer and Stéphane Richelmi.
Jolyon Carlyle Palmer was born in Horsham in England on 20th January 1991. He has motor racing in his DNA as his father is Jonathan Palmer, who raced in F1 between 1984 and 1989, with Tyrrell in particular. Jolyon cut his teeth in karts before tackling single-seaters starting with Formula Palmer Audi in 2007 and 2008 finishing third in his second season.
In 2011, he began racing in GP2, and this year he has made remarkable progress with seventh place in the championship helped by two superb victories in Hungary and Singapore. He has now reached his peak and he will be a serious title contender in 2014. He will team up with Monegasque driver Stéphane Richelmi who has signed for another season with DAMS in GP2. In 2013, he too made a big improvement (8th in the championship). The younger son (born 17th March 1990 in Monte Carlo) of former rally driver Jean-Pierre Richelmi made his debut in the Belgian 1.6-litre Formula Renault Championship in 2006.
He then raced in FR 2.0, the British F3 Championship, the F3 Euro Series, F3 in Italy (runner-up in 2010), and FR 3.5 before his debut in GP2 in 2012. After this learning season he was a regular front-runner this year with DAMS and just lacked that little bit of luck. Thanks to the experience he has acquired and the backing of the team, Stéphane is ready to take up a new challenge in 2014.
Jolyon Palmer: "I only have one objective for next year, which is to win the GP2 title, and I believe joining DAMS will give me the best opportunity to achieve that. They have a great track record of leading drivers to F1 and I will be working extremely hard to follow Romain Grosjean and Davide Valsecchi and become DAMS' third GP2 champion in four years, and maximise my chances of securing an F1 drive for 2015."
Stéphane Richelmi: "I'm really delighted to be continuing with DAMS in 2014. I'd like to thank Jean-Paul Driot and the whole team for their trust in me. My aim will be to build on my experience this year and reach a new level. I feel very good in the DAMS family and all the conditions are in place for us to fight for the podium and victory next year."
Jean-Paul Driot: "Our 2013 season was less fruitful than the two previous ones, but DAMS is still a top team and our hunger for victories and titles is greater than ever! With this in mind I'm delighted to welcome Jolyon with whom we've been in contact for a long time and who had a great second half in the 2013 season. I'm also very pleased to keep Stéphane with us, and I'm convinced that all the work we did with him this year will pay off in 2014. The experience and the evenly-matched capacities of these two drivers will enable us to fight at the front in the 2014 championship."