Rowland enjoying unexpected place in Formula E title fight

The theme of Formula E’s GEN3 era so far has been the battle for supremacy between Porsche and Jaguar, yet as the current season enters its second half, one man isn’t keeping to the script.

Nissan driver Oliver Rowland is a legitimate championship contender sitting third in the points with one win to his name, and could have very nearly been two not for a team error in Misano — a weekend where Nissan hadn’t expected to be so strong due to the track’s high energy consumption tendencies and the Japanese brand’s efficiency deficiency.

Immediately after Misano, Rowland admitted, “I don’t think I ever expected to be in the position that I’m in at the moment” but looking back, he now admits that his performance that weekend has been a cause for optimism moving forwards.


“I think Misano was quite a big surprise for us in terms of how we were able to be competitive in quite an energy-efficient race,” Rowland told RACER. “And what that did was it kind of changed perspective for us, because there’s quite a lot of these energy-sensitive races towards the end of the season. I think that’s why I was quite less optimistic in the beginning, because I knew they were coming. So I guess it’s changed slightly since then.”

That optimism isn’t coming at the expense of awareness, though. Rowland knows just how stiff the challenge remains.

“I need to be perfect every weekend if I want to go with the two Jags, (Pascal) Wehrlein and Jake (Dennis),” he ssaidays. “I think what we’ve built here is good, but we know that we still lack a little bit in some areas compared to them. But I’m still in it, but not really thinking of that, just trying to do each race as best I can and see how that evolves.”

One area where Rowland acknowledges Nissan is lacking is one-lap pace. Qualifying for Nissan-powered cars has been inconsistent this season, although Rowland has been able to compensate for that with stellar race performances that have seen him accrue the second-highest podium haul this season with six, just one less than championship leader Nick Cassidy.

“It’s tough,” Rowland conceded. “I was on pole in Tokyo and fifth in Misano — but also the second day in Misano I should have been in the Duels. In Monaco, we weren’t as competitive as we thought, and there was some issues that I was having with the car.

“It does seem like we’re more competitive in the race, and that’s what we kind of put a lot of focus into. But we need to make sure that the qualifying is back in a good place — that will help us in the races by not spending too much energy to get to the front of the races so we can be a little bit more efficient.

“I think the main focus for us is efficiency. We understood last year that we missed a bit compared to probably Jaguar and Porsche, and I think what they’ve found is a good step. If we achieve our target, then we’ll be up there with the best thing in terms of efficiency.”

Story originally appeared on Racer