Oliver Rowland hopes to persuade Williams F1 team to 'take a punt'
|By Scott Mitchell||Tuesday, May 15th 2018, 11:01 GMT|
Williams young driver Oliver Rowland hopes he can convince the team to "take a punt" and promote him to a Formula 1 race seat for the 2019 season.
Rowland made his official F1 test debut in Spain this morning before handing over the FW41 to Williams reserve driver Robert Kubica on Wednesday.
The 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 champion spent the last two seasons as Renault's development driver but switched to a Williams role after failing to land an F1 race seat for '18.
"It's difficult to know their situation," Rowland told Autosport about his Williams prospects.
"Obviously we're going to try to see what we can raise but my job has to be to do the best I can do.
"Look at Valtteri Bottas, when he was here, he did a similar thing. He didn't race anything and focused on his development role here.
"That's what I'm looking at. I'm British, that helps in a British team.
"They need a step up, so I'm hoping they might take a punt."
Williams is last in the championship after five races and struggling with what team consultant Alex Wurz claims is an aerodynamic stall at the rear of the car.
This week's test is the first opportunity to trial development on-track since pre-season, and Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe believes that increases Rowland's responsibility and chance to impress.
"We've got a range of new parts to try and Oliver is our first filter of those," he told Autosport.
"We'll base quite a lot of our decisions Tuesday night around that for Wednesday with Robert.
"It's a great opportunity for Oliver to show that discrimination and understanding around what he's testing, as well as seeing how he is on pace, which we shouldn't forget is still important."
Lowe said Williams has been "very happy" with Rowland, who he says has done a "great job" with his simulator work so far.
"It's an important day on Tuesday and we'll see how that goes," said Lowe.
"Then we can review, and there's the opportunity to do the second young driver day in Hungary in July."
Rowland believes "feedback, consistency and showing you can approach things in a mature manner are going to go the furthest" in impressing Williams in this test.
"There's not much pressure to do an amazing lap time because of where they seem to be at the moment," he said. "I'll still try, maybe we'll bring some new items and improve.
"Tuesday and Wednesday they are going to have a good idea of where I am compared to [the team's race drivers and Kubica].
"On the simulator I know I do a good job, I'm fast and consistent, and I know I'm everything they wanted.
"I need to do the job on track, and see where I am compared to these guys."