If there is one team that need to get some testing miles on the clock it is Williams.
Following the weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, the Grove outfit sit seven points adrift at the bottom of the constructors’ championship and are in desperate need of track-time to find a much needed improvement.
As luck would have it there is a two-day testing session at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday and Wednesday that all the F1 teams will be attending.
Bottom of the standings, Williams will be desperate for a productive two days’ testing
Notably, these days will see teams use one of their minimum two days of the season where many will run a ‘young driver.’
FIA rules state each team must give two of the four days of in-season testing over to drivers who have competed in no more than two grands prix.
For Williams this represents a chance for Oliver Rowland to get behind the wheel of a current generation Formula One car for the first time.
The Brit joined the team in this winter from Renault and in Barcelona will finally get to show his ability behind the wheel of an F1 car.
Driving the FW41 for the first time, Oliver Rowland will be helping the team develop the car
However, despite having a full day to test the car, the 25-year fears that he will only become comfortable with it by the end of the session as he simply targets on helping the team develop the struggling FW41.
‘My main focus has to be to do the job for the team,’ Rowland told Sportsmail. ‘They have a load of test items. They need to develop the car so the No 1 priority is to give good feedback.
‘Obviously at the same time I want to show them I am capable of doing the job and showing that I am fast.
The Brit will then hand over driving duties to Williams reserve driver Robert Kubica
‘You can get up to speed pretty quickly. But the final seven or eight tenths you are going to need some time in the car. It will take most of the day to get fully comfortable.’
For the young drivers involved in a team’s F1 programme, it isn’t just the case of hanging around the team for five days a week and picking up an easy pay cheque.
Rowland for instance competes in the World Endurance Championship and will be racing at Le Mans next month for the Manor outfit. A consequence of that is that the Brit spends only a minority of the week with Williams.
CATALUNYA TEST LINE-UPS
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel and Antonio Giovinazzi
Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Jake Dennis
Force India: Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin/George Russell
Williams: Oliver Rowland and Robert Kubica
Renault: Carlos Sainz and Jack Aitken
Toro Rosso: Sean Gelael and Pierre Gasly
Haas: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
McLaren: Lando Norris, Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Turvey
Sauber: Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc
A two-day test will take place from Tuesday at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona
However, Rowland still has F1 in his sights and preparing for Tuesday’s test at Catalunya has been a primary focus since joining the team.
‘Obviously the last couple of months I have been fully focused for this test. I probably spend one or two days a week at the factory, depending on what my other schedules are and how often they need me.
‘It is mostly just simulator work but there are some bits of work like PR and little bits of engineering stuff but the majority of it is just simulator work.
‘The F1 simulators are like really, really good. They can test most items on a car.’
After winning an F2 race at Barcelona, George Russell will test Pirelli tyres with Force India
Jack Aitken also tasted success for Britain around Catalunya and will feature for Renault
McLaren starlet Lando Norris took two F2 podiums and will test on both days for the team
Rowland will drive the Williams on Tuesday before handing over duties to the team’s official test driver Robert Kubica for its Wednesday programme.
Rowland is not the only Brit set to be given his chance to shine in an F1 car, as he will be joined on track by compatriots who also have points to prove at their respective teams
Jake Dennis will get his first running behind an F1 car in five years as he tries to get back up to speed when he takes over on Wednesday from Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
Formula Two championship leader Lando Norris will compete on both days for McLaren and will be joined by Oliver Turvey for Wednesday’s running.
Jack Aitken will feature for Renault on the second day while Mercedes protege George Russell will get behind a Force India on Tuesday to perform a tyre test for Pirelli.
Lewis Hamilton will test for Mercedes fresh from his F1 triumph at Catalunya on Sunday