Rowland ‘in talks with Williams’ for Formula 1 seat


Credit: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2

Oliver Rowland is in talks with Williams Martini Racing to become its second driver alongside Lance Stroll, the final seat available on the 2018 Formula 1 grid, according to his management team.

Rowland, who finished third in this year’s FIA Formula 2 standings, currently occupies a role with the Renault Sport Formula One Team as its development driver.

The Brit has confirmed that his management team has held talks with Williams, along with a number of Super Formula teams as he assesses his options for next season.

“My team is in talks with Williams, as they are with other teams,” confirmed Rowland.

“British car, British driver – it fits well.

“Lots of drivers seem to be in the frame for 2018, so we will just have to see what happens.”

Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin¬†currently lead Williams’ shortlist – both of whom tested for Renault earlier in the season – and the Grove outfit’s stance is unclear whether Rowland is a viable candidate for the team.

It is believed that Kubica’s pace at the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre test was not as impressive as Williams was hoping for, leading the team to cast its net out for other drivers to replace the out-going Felipe Massa.

Ex-Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat joins fellow Russian Sirotkin on Williams’ shortlist, although the former did not take part in the Yas Marina test.

However, it is believed that Williams’ title sponsor Martini has a preference for drivers who are 25 and over, something which – if enforced – may work in favour of the 25-year-old Rowland should Williams decide not to pursue Kubica any further.

Rowland boasts a strong array of junior category results, winning two races in F2 last season and factoring in the title battle, also clinching the Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2015.

Previous Williams candidate Pascal Wehrlein is not expected to factor in the race for the seat, while current reserve Paul di Resta is expected to be a long shot.