Oliver Rowland happy to prove he deserves his F1 chance ahead of Robert Kubica

14 July 2017 03:09

Oliver Rowland insists he could go quicker than Robert Kubica and any other Formula One hopefuls as the Briton eyes a seat at motorsport's top table.

The 24-year-old will compete in Formula Two at Silverstone this weekend as he looks to close the gap on championship leader Charles Leclerc.

Rowland will then watch as the F1 show-piece event dominates proceedings, but the Sheffield-born racer is backing himself to make it to the pinnacle before too long.

Currently signed up as Renault's development driver, there could be a drive opening up at the Enstone-based team if compatriot Jolyon Palmer is as close to the exit door as some reports suggest.

The waters are muddied somewhat by the fact former BMW Sauber and Renault driver Kubica is aiming for a remarkable comeback.

The 32-year-old has not competed in F1 since 2010 after suffering several fractures and a partially-severed right arm in a rally crash just weeks before the start of the 2011 season.

But he completed a second test with Renault on Thursday at the Paul Ricard circuit in France to increase rumours of a spectacular return.

Such a move would be seen as a good news story but Rowland admits it would leave a sour taste in his mouth if he was not afforded the same opportunities to impress.

"From my side it is a little bit frustrating," he said of Kubica's test runs.

"I proved myself in World Series and F2 and kind of need an opportunity so for him to come back at 32, it is a little bit frustrating, but if Renault want to have the best person they need to choose who they want.

"If they need me to prove that I am happy to go up against anyone to prove my worth. I just want an equal chance to prove I belong in F1.

"Renault's project is long-term and I am still young and I am confident that if I get the opportunity on equal terms I can show what I am worth and that I am quicker - I believe I can genuinely do as good a job as anyone in Formula One.

"I respect the guys that are at the pinnacle and have more experience, I understand you have to learn a lot when you get there but there is no reason why I can't achieve that."

Rowland, who watched F1 at Silverstone as a child, still harbours ambitions to race there in the sport despite the circuit announcing it has activated a contract clause to stop hosting the British Grand Prix after 2019.

"I intend to be in F1 before the contract ends and I can't imagine F1 not being at Silverstone so I hope they come to a resolution.

"For a driver, Silverstone is amazing. It is a unique circuit, the high speed and the commitment you have to show to be fast is like no other track in the world. It is one of my favourite tracks and it is a special place.

"2018 is definitely the target (to reach F1). Last year I didn't carry any momentum but my intention is to win Formula 2 and if I can show that I can work with a team and become better, it puts me in an even better position to go into an F1 team.

"There are going to be places opening up, Jolyon is under pressure a little bit and, who knows what Lewis (Hamilton) will do, so there could be a chance for a British driver fairly soon with no other Brits on the grid."

Source: PA