The son of former Formula One driver Jonathan, Jolyon Palmer started in karts before switching to cars in 2005 enjoying success before moving up to Formula Palmer Audi, the series created by his father almost a decade earlier, in 2007. Two wins and two poles saw him finish tenth, and in 2008 he was in contention for much of the season, but only win was not enough despite recording 11 podiums. In 2009 he moved up to Formula Two, finishing the season back in 21st place but turning in some encouraging performances. His progress continued over the winter.
In 2011 he made his way to F1 feeder series GP2 for Arden International, before a switch to iSport the following year saw him make his breakthrough with a win in Monaco. A podium on home soil at Silverstone followed. Moving to Carlin for 2013, Palmer scored regular points and won in Hungary and Singapore, out-performing team-mate Felipe Nasr for much of the year.
He moved to DAMS for 2014 and finally got the car his talent deserved, taking four victories on his way to a record-breaking championship over Stoffel Vandoorne and Nasr. A test for Force India followed but a 2015 F1 seat was not forthcoming, though he was signed by Lotus as its reserve driver. He hopes to use his role at Lotus as a springboard to a senior drive in 2016.