It is often forgotten that junior categories do not necessarily exist for entertainment purposes, but rather are there to deliver the next generation of drivers to the top level of motorsport – whatever that may be in each driver’s eyes.
While titles and big race wins are all well and good – and yes, that is often how the newcomers are adjudged – how a driver manages their respective situations and develops with it, while learning how best to utilise their skills is what really counts.
But in a sense, there also lies the rub. As a spec series with long stable rules, GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer has gained a large dose of knowledge from previous years running in the category. It is arguable that his four years in GP2 may work against him as his future comes up for evaluation for those young, sharp shooters who are destined for the stars showed their marks early…
Considering that, one might reasonably rate the performances of Stoffel Vandoorne and Raffaele Marciello in GP2 very highly indeed. Even moreso than Palmer..?
There is little doubt that Palmer has matured greatly in the last eighteen months – both as a driver and noticeably as a person on the occasions that I have met him. His attitude and outlook have developed significantly and while the Briton was not the fastest driver in GP2 this year – nor the best in terms of raw talent – there is little doubt that he was the driver who best utilised his experience and his abilities to construct a successful championship campaign and that is impressive.
Junior championships can be entertaining facilitators, but that is not really their purpose and so it would best to keep that in mind before judging one’s relative talents based on a Wikipedia table.