After being chosen as the injured Nick Heidfeld's replacement for the upcoming Punta del Este ePrix, Oliver Rowland is keen to show the Mahindra Formula E team what he can do.
After a stellar 2015 season, are you viewing this as an added bonus or potential enhancement to your career?
“It should be interesting. I am looking forward to it and it is a bonus race for me this season, yes. Everything will be new for me so all I can do is my best and make sure I am as prepared as possible. The team is obviously very good and experienced, so that will be a big help.
“Mahindra is giving me a fantastic opportunity, so I am going to give it everything. Personally, I am going out there to learn and enjoy the experience. My main aim is to pay back the faith Mahindra have shown in me by choosing me to pilot the M2Electro.
"It will be a massive challenge: A new car, new team, new way of going racing, but I am up for it. It is a bonus after a great year in my career but at the same time I want to achieve something really good for myself and the team.
“Stepping in for someone like Nick is, for anyone, going to be a massive challenge but I am up for it and hopefully I can do it justice."
Have you followed Formula E since its inception?
“I followed the series in the first season but haven’t seen much this year due to other commitments. It looks like a clever and inspiring series, all about managing certain parameters available from the car and powertrain and how you can sustain the pace for a whole event."
What does the next week or so look like for you, before heading to Uruguay?
“At the moment I am here in Abu Dhabi and finish the test today [Friday]. I then go back to the UK for some meetings and awards ceremonies, then I go down to Campos’ facility in Valencia next week and talk to the engineers about all the different systems and get familiar with the car.
"We’ll do some simulation and my seat too. It is quite last minute so there will be a lot to do in a short space of time, but that is ok and it is quite exciting.”
You have some experience of street circuits, do you like the challenge?
“I have raced at Pau and Monaco and really like street circuits. I qualified second at Monaco this year. The Formula E cars are obviously very different in terms of weight, the tyres and the overall pace, but I am sure I will pick it up quickly.
"I am just going to make sure I prepare myself in the best possible way in Valencia next week. As always on street tracks, it will all be about finding a good rhythm."
With you joining Oliver Turvey in Uruguay, it will mean two RSF (Racing Steps Foundation) drivers racing together at a high level.
“Yes, that is good. If it wasn’t for the RSF, I wouldn’t be getting opportunities like this, so big thanks to them as always. I haven’t raced against Oliver as he’s a bit older, but it will be good as he came from RSF roots too.
"With Sam there as well, it means three British drivers in an FIA Championship which can only be a good thing for British motorsport.”
What do you make of FanBoost?
"Well, I will certainly be calling all my friends! Seriously though, as a new driver I don’t expect to get the FanBoost. The concept seems interesting to me but again it is something I don’t know too much about, there are so many totally new aspects in Formula E for me to learn about.”
When will you be making a decision on your 2016 GP2 programe?
“Internally we will make a decision soon. Hopefully we can do it pre-Christmas, we’ll see.
“I was with Prema on Thursday and to be honest it wasn’t the best day, because we had a hydraulic problem when we put new tyres on, so I didn’t get a proper run.
"Still, I learnt a lot with a new team to the category and I was impressed with them and the way they went about things. Wednesday was good with ART and today [Friday] I am in one of the DAMS cars.”