Kubica a rival for Renault F1 2018 seat - Rowland

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Kubica a rival for Renault F1 2018 seat - Rowland
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Co-author: Alex Kalinauckas
Aug 6, 2017, 9:07 AM

Formula 2 driver Oliver Rowland says Robert Kubica is a rival for a seat at the Renault Formula 1 team for 2018.

Press conference: second place qualifying for Oliver Rowland, DAMS
Oliver Rowland, the Renault E20 F1
 Robert Kubica, Renault Sport F1 Team
Robert Kubica, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Robert Kubica, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Robert Kubica, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
 Oliver Rowland, DAMS
Oliver Rowland, DAMS
Polesitter Charles Leclerc, PREMA Powerteam, second place Oliver Rowland, DAMS
 Press conference: Oliver Rowland, DAMS

The 24-year-old, who sits second in the F2 title standings, is an F1 development driver for the French manufacturer.

As part of that programme, on Saturday he drove Renault’s E20 Lotus F1 car at the Assen circuit – the same car that Kubica used earlier this summer to evaluate his chances of making a comeback.

When asked by Motorsport.com if he sees Kubica, who tested Renault’s 2017 car at the Hungaroring last week, as a rival for a potential Renault seat next year, Rowland replied: “Well, my target is to be in Formula 1 and I think he’s on the list, isn’t he? So probably, yeah.”

“I think from a neutral’s point of view and everybody watching, it’s a nice story. It was disappointing for him when he got his injury, he was just coming to the peak of his career.

“So I know that everybody has got a lot of respect for him and the driver that he used to be, so it’s nice to see him back.

"[But] from my side, I’m looking to be in Formula 1 as well next year. The other part of me wants me to be there, and not other people, but let’s see.”

Rowland, who drove a McLaren MP-26 as his prize for winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC award and Red Bull F1 machinery as a reward for being the mid-season points leader in the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 championship, completed two runs of the TT Circuit during the Gamma Racing Day event.

“As a kid you always dream about driving a Formula 1 car, so to realise [my dream] once again is fantastic, especially with Renault.

“I’m their development driver and I’ve pretty much been affiliated with them ever since my first day in a formula car.

“I did Formula Renault, then World Series and I had backing in GP2 and F2, so it’s nice to be able to complete the ladder and drive the Formula 1 car.

“Hopefully this is just the start.”

F2 title fight "back on"

Rowland is currently 50 points behind Prema Racing’s Charles Leclerc in the F2 title standings, having reduced the gap by 21 points by winning the feature race and finishing second in the sprint event last time out in Hungary.

Following a disappointing weekend at the previous round at Silverstone, Rowland suggested that Leclerc’s advantage was beginning to look insurmountable, but after his performance at the Hungaroring he insisted the title fight was not over.

“If I have the pace I had [last] weekend and he’s not on pole, then yeah, it’s back on,” he said.

“That’s number one priority – to become faster in qualifying and take the pole points and be good in the races.

“Fifty points is one race weekend worth of points, so it’s a bad weekend for him and a good weekend for me.”

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Robert Kubica , Oliver Rowland
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Erwin Jaeggi
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