Oliver Rowland thrilled the fans at the Gamma Racing event at the TT Circuit Assen as the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team development driver took to the track in an E20 Lotus F1 car on Saturday.
The British racer, currently sitting second in the FIA Formula 2 Championship standings to Charles Leclerc heading into the summer break, and with two race victories to his name, is currently aiming to move up into Formula 1 in 2018, but enjoyed his outing with Renault in the Netherlands.
“As a kid you always dream about driving a Formula 1 car, so to realise my dream once again is fantastic, especially with Renault,” said Rowland. “I’m their development driver and I’ve pretty much been affiliated with them ever since my first day in a formula car.
“I did Formula Renault, then World Series and I had backing in GP2 and F2, so it’s nice to be able to complete the ladder and drive the Formula 1 car. Hopefully this is just the start.”
The twenty-four-year-old from Sheffield, England, knows there are plenty of drivers being linked with the second seat at Renault in 2018 alongside Nico Hülkenberg, with the future of current driver Jolyon Palmer firmly in doubt following his failure to score points in any of the opening eleven races of the current season.
Rowland acknowledges that one of those potential rivals is Robert Kubica, who completed a first test in a 2017 car last week at the Hungaroring as he continued his testing programme to see whether he could make a return to Formula 1, but for the Briton is confident he can beat everyone to the drive.
“It’s great to see Robert back driving an F1 car, it’s a nice story,” said Rowland. “It was disappointing for him when he got his injury, he was just coming to the peak of his career.
“Everybody has got a lot of respect for him and the driver that he used to be, so it’s nice to see him back.
“There will always be competition for places at this level, my aim hasn’t changed, my main focus is to be in an F1 seat next year and I am confident of achieving that.”