Over these last 11 years, a number of Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers have taken part in F1 tests. For some of them, from Robert Kubica in 2005 to Carlos Sainz in 2014, these test sessions have been key moments in their rise to the F1 grid.
In reward for leading the Formula Renault 3.5 Series standings at the halfway stage of the season, Oliver Rowland was invited to test drive the Infiniti Red Bull F1 Team’s RB8 at World Series by Renault’s British leg. Describing how it went, he said : “It was amazing. I’m still smiling. I’ve never felt anything like it. I went pretty hard in my session on Friday, but I had a little bit of margin so I didn’t damage the car. I’d especially like to thank Renault Sport and Infiniti Red Bull F1 Team for the time they gave me in the car. Driving in front of my family this weekend was really very important for me. It was great and I can’t wait to get in an F1 car again.”
The drive was Oliver Rowland’s second F1 outing. After finishing a Formula Renault UK runner-up in 2011, the young Briton won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and with it an F1 test drive with McLaren.
“We are delighted with Oliver’s performance in the car,” said Renault Sport F1 Marketing Operations Manager Servane Monot. “He looked very mature to us, and he had a very professional attitude. Oliver took on board everything the team’s engineers told him. He produced some very good laps, especially with the medium tyres we used. He gave us some excellent feedback too, and it was a pleasure to work with him. He came to the factory, sat in the car and we went through the various procedures with him. It was the first time that he’d been in the Infiniti Red Bull F1 and he drove it as if he’d known the car all his life.”
With 11 races of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season gone, Oliver Rowland lies 36 points clear of second-placed Matthieu Vaxivière. With the exception of Monaco, he has won at every track this season.