Force India has announced that it will be testing Jolyon Palmer and Spike Goddard in the post-Abu Dhabi GP tests. Palmer is well known as the GP2 champion and son of former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer, while Goddard is less well-known having achieved little during two years in the European Formula 3 Championship. His one claim to fame was that he won the rookie title in British F3 in 2012, although the competition was not spectacular that year.
Goddard’s story is certainly complicated and began with his father Bruce, who born in British Columbia in Canada but went to university in the UK. After that he went to the US to work in finance and in 1986 joined an investment business called Barclays Global Investors (BGI), based in California. BGI was owned by Barclays but was a stand-alone operation in which Goddard played a key role, particularly after 1997 when he was appointed to head BGI operations in Australia. Goddard’s three sons were all born in the US. Richard (known as Spike) was the youngest. He was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Australia when he was five and grew up in Sydney until he was 19 when he moved to UK to race in Formula Ford, after starting his career in karts in Australia.
BGI would ultimately be sold by Barclays for $13.5 billion in 2009. Goddard obviously made a lot of money and he would go on to form a financial firm called Vinva which help to fund Richard’s racing career. There has been little in his career to suggest that he is an F1 driver of the future and thus the test drive most be viewed as being a paying opportunity. The same may well be true of Palmer as well.