Williams has named former Renault youngster and Formula 2 race-winner Oliver Rowland as its ‘official young driver’ for the 2018 season.
Rowland took two race victories and a further eight podiums on his way to finishing third in the F2 championship last year, and has already announced a move into the World Endurance Championship this season to race in LMP1 for TRSM Racing. Alongside race drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin and reserve and development driver Robert Kubica, Rowland will carry out simulator work and drive for Williams at this year’s Young Driver Test.
“I am pleased we have secured the services of Oliver, who is a talented and highly regarded young driver,” deputy team principal Claire Williams aid. “He has raced at many Formula 1 circuits, and his experience and knowledge will complement the team’s ongoing engineering work. His addition to Williams will further strengthen the team.”
Rowland was Renault’s development driver last season and has also previously had track time in a McLaren and Red Bull, and the 25-year-old says the new role will further help his progress.
“I am immensely proud to be joining Williams Martini Racing as their official young driver,” Rowland said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I will be working as hard as I possibly can to help them develop the car this season.
“Williams is a British team with a fantastic heritage and history, which has made it one of the most respected teams in the sport. It’s always been my ambition to get a role in Formula 1 and I’m very excited to be doing that with Williams. They have always given young drivers the opportunity to progress so it’s now up to me to make a good impression and further my development as a driver.
“Hopefully with my hard work in the simulator and test I can impress the team. It’s certainly going to be an exciting challenge ahead and I want to help Williams as the team continues to work to close the gap to the front of the grid in 2018.”
? @OliverRowland1 joins Williams as Official Young Driver ?
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) February 23, 2018
Williams is already giving track time to Kubica this season, with the Pole set to take part in pre-season testing as well as three FP1 sessions.