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Driver Profile: Oliver Rowland – From Formula Renault and Formula 2 to Formula E Star

Oliver Rowland Racing
Formula E 2024 Round 5 Tokyo ePrix: Oliver Rowland - Via Morio / Wikimedia - CC BY-SA 4.0

Britain’s Oliver Rowland was born in Barnsley in the summer of 1992 and got his first driving experience at the age of two when his dad brought him a small quad bike. He began karting around the time of his fifth birthday, and within half a year he managed to win his first race. He won the Kartmasters British GP in the Comer Cadet class in 2002, before winning back-to-back titles in the same class of the Super One Series in the next two years.

He won the ICA Junior class of that Super One Series in 2007, before moving up to KF2 in 2008. He won the CIK-FIA World Cup in that class in that year, before winning his second World Cup title in the KF1 class in 2010. During his final few seasons in karting, he was part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme, which Lewis Hamilton had just graduated from.

Rowland made his single-seater racing debut in the 2010 Formula Renault UK Winter Series, which he finished seventh in. Oliver’s first race win came in that season’s final race, which took place at the Pembrey Circuit. He competed in the full British Formula Renault Championship in 2011, finishing second in the standings and picking up four race wins.

He managed to comfortably win the Formula Renault UK Finals Series at the end of the year, winning four of the six races. Rowland then stepped up to the Formula Renault Eurocup, recording consecutive third and second-place finishes, and picking up four race wins across the two seasons. In 2013 he also managed to win four races in the Formula Renault NEC, which he finished fourth in, despite only starting eight of the 16 races.

He spent 2014 and 2015 racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, in which he picked up 10 race wins and secured the title in 2015. 2015 also saw Rowland compete in seven GP2 races and make his Formula E debut with Mahindra in Punta del Este, as their driver Nick Heidfeld was injured.

For 2016 Rowland was signed to the Renault Sport Academy, and he competed in the full GP2 Series, finishing ninth. He competed in the renamed Formula 2 Championships with DAMS in 2017, winning two races and finishing third. For 2018 he was named as Williams’ Junior F1 Driver, which saw him test for the team in both Spain and Hungary.

2018 was also the year in which he returned to Formula E, this time with a full-time seat at Nissan. In his first full season, he managed to pick up podiums in Sanya and Monaco and finish 10th in the standings. In the 2019/20 season, he picked up his first race win in Berlin and finished fifth overall. He fell to 14th in the next season and moved to Mahindra for 2021/22, where he only finished in the points four times and was 14th in the standings again.

He only scored points once in his first seven races of the 2022/23 season and agreed to leave the team mid-season after being disappointed with Mahindra’s competitiveness. Rowland returned to Nissan for the 2023/24 season and picked up his second Formula E win at Misano after António Félix da Costa was disqualified.

He has also picked up five other podiums this season so far and currently sits fourth in the standings with four races remaining, 105 points ahead of his highly-rated teammate Sacha Fenestraz.

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