Barnsley motor racing champion Rowland aiming for Formula 1

Oliver Rowland: First full year of GP2
Oliver Rowland: First full year of GP2

Oliver Rowland, the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion is joining the new Renault Sport Academy with immediate effect.

Rowland, the 23-year-old race ace from Barnsley - the first Briton to win the FR3.5 title on the back of a record eight wins - has signed up with the Academy and will undergo a comprehensive immersion programme at Renault Sport Racing’s headquarters at Viry-Châtillon, France and Enstone in England.

The Renault Sport Academy aims to back and develop driving talent towards the ultimate goal of bringing new drivers into F1: providing fitness, education and mentoring programmes.

In parallel with his Renault Sport Academy role, Rowland supported by the Racing Steps Foundation will race in the GP2 championship, on the Formula 1 Grand Prix support-programme, with the Dutch, MP Motorsport squad for his first full year of GP2.

The announcement takes him another step closer to realising his dream of becoming a full-time Formula 1 driver.

He said: “I’m just thrilled to be able to share this news. Clearly it’s the kind of career move that every driver dreams of - but few get to realise. In that respect I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Renault Sport and the Racing Steps Foundation for making this possible”.

Graham Sharp, founder of the Racing Steps Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to have played a part in helping him along the way. Now it’s up to him to seize the opportunity with both hands and make the absolute most of it”.