Rowland “open” to Formula E return

Current E Formula E Punta del Este 2015 Dan Bathie Top Shots Oliver Rowland in the cockpit of Mahindra Racing car

Oliver Rowland says he would be “open” to a return to racing in Formula E if he is unable to secure a Formula One drive next season. 

The Formula 2 racer currently sits third in the 2017 championship and is targeting an F1 seat at Renault for 2018, having spent this season as the French manufacturer’s development driver.

Rowland made an unexpected Formula E appearance at the Punta del Este round of the second season of the all-electric single-seater series when he received a call from the Mahindra team asking him to deputise for injured regular Nick Heidfeld.

The Briton, who claimed a commendable 13th place on his debut in Uruguay, admits he would consider a return to the championship if he fails to land an F1 drive.

“I’d be open to returning to it,” Rowland told Current E. “I enjoyed it. A lot of people say the cars are too slow but actually, when you put them in-between two walls that are pretty tight like a go-kart track, it actually takes quite a lot of skill.

“I think the level of drivers in it is just as good as Formula One nearly, they are all ex-Formula One drivers and they’ve all done a good job and all deserve their chance in F1. They might not be there now but they are all at a very high level.”

Recalling his maiden outing at the end of 2015, the then reigning Formula V8 3.5 champion admits he was “guessing” his way through qualifying and the race having had no prior experience driving a Formula E car. 

“I started to enjoy it a little bit more on the Sunday post-race test,” Rowland explained. “I was able to extract a bit more the car, whereas the problem I had on the race day was you only get two laps on the high power watt laps, so I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

“In qualifying I was guessing every time I arrived at a corner because the power is so much more you arrive so much faster and the regeneration makes it a lot different. 

“I was always guessing, so it wasn’t that nice at that time when a slight mistake would mean you are in the wall. But on the Sunday I started to understand brake balance and all that sort of stuff a lot better and got in a rhythm and actually enjoyed driving the car.

“The event is good fun, there’s a lot of stuff for fans to do and for drivers it’s all condensed into one day. It was nice to be around.”

Staff writer: Lewis Larkam

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