Yorkshire driver Oliver Rowland on what it will take to win Formula E title

AFTER claiming his maiden Formula E race victory last season, Penistone’s Oliver Rowland has set his sights on a championship challenge in the electric car series this season.

Winner: Oliver Rowland celebrates his maiden Formula E victory in Berlin last season. Picture: Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images

The Nissan e.dams driver claimed fifth place in the overall standings in 2019-20 and his dominant lights-to-flag victory from pole position in Berlin in August has given the Yorkshireman the confidence and belief that he can push for title honours when the new season gets under way in Saudi Arabia next month.

“I think after picking up my first win last season and pole positions, the next thing for me is to challenge for the title,” said Rowland, who joined the Nissan e.dams team in 2018.

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“I think Formula E is pretty difficult and there is a lot of competition out there but we have to set our sights high and will try and achieve the maximum that we can.

Pemistone's Oliver Rowland. Picture: Dan Bathie/LAT.

“Of course the first victory gave me confidence. I knew it was coming at some point. I’d shown I had the pace so it was all about putting it together in one weekend and that’s definitely what we did in Berlin.”

That victory in Germany was all the more impressive given the fact that the series had been suspended for six months due to the deepening Covid-19 crisis and when it did resume, the final six races of the season all took place on the same racetrack within the space of just nine days.

“Last season was really difficult,” added Rowland. “We all wanted to go racing but unfortunately we couldn’t at some points in the year but Formula E did a fantastic job to get us out in Berlin.

“It was very intense, very tiring, there was a lot on the schedule with six races in nine days but I enjoyed it and we all did a fantastic job to get out and race.”

Rowland’s Nissan e.dams car proved very competitive in the end of year pre-season testing at Valencia and with updates to come later this season, the 28-year-old is confident the team will be in an excellent position come the first race next month.

“Pre-season testing has been very good,” he said.

“We were pretty happy with the work we did. I think we’ve got a good direction on the small improvements we want to make ahead of the first race so I’m quietly confident that we can make some good steps and be competitive for the first race.

“Our car updates will come later in the season.

“You have three different chances to upgrade the car at three different times so we’ve chosen to upgrade our car for the European races.”

With the season expected to be fiercely competitive, Rowland knows he will have to be at the top of his game to defeat defending champion Antonio Felix Da Costa – who won the title by 71 points in his DS Techeetah car – and a whole host of formula Formula 1 drivers and talented rookies.

Rowland said: “My main rivals this season will be Da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne because they’ve won the championship the last three years between them and they are in the same team.

“So, with the continuity and the fact that DS Techeetah are fast, I expect those two to be up there and my team-mate (Sebastien Buemi) will be strong and there are many drivers who can spring a surprise out there.

“I expect Porsche and André Lotterer to be at a good level and also the two Mercedes cars.

“I just think this season will be as competitive as ever,” he continued.

“I think there’s been some good drivers added to the championship – some good young ones and some experienced ones so that just adds to the competitiveness and makes it tougher for everybody out there.”

The season will get under way with a double-header on February 26-27 with the Diriyah circuit in Saudi Arabia playing host to the championship’s first night races.

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