Oliver Turvey: Alguersuari’s progress shows I’m ready for F1 (Interview)

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Turvey aims to reach F1 in 2011

Jaime Alguersuari made his F1 debut last year and yesterday got a one-year contract extension with Toro Rosso.

Briton Oliver Turvey was Alguersuari’s team mate for the last two seasons in Formula Three and Formula Renault 3.5. This year Turvey is racing in F1 feeder series GP2 – and believes Alguersuari’s progress proves that he too is ready to step up to Formula 1.

I spoke to Turvey at the Autosport International show where he was quick to praise Alguersuari’s performance so far:

It was fantastic he got an opportunity to race in Formula 1 and I think he did a good job considering the amount of mileage he had.

He showed he was competitive in some of the races. It’s good for me to know that I’ve raced with him and beaten him – last season I was quicker than him – and so I feel I can definitely race in Formula 1.
Oliver Turvey

Turvey raced at two F1 weekends last year. He won the Formula Renault 3.5 support race at Monaco, which he described as his “biggest ever win”.

And he stepped up to GP2 Asia at the season finale in Abu Dhabi where he enjoyed a strong debut:

I scored points in both races. It was a good weekend, especially seeing as I had to miss the two-day test in Abu Dhabi because I was doing the last round of World Series by Renault in Spain. So I arrived late and we only had 30 minutes practice for me to get used to the cars and learn the Abu Dhabi track. There were a lot of new things to learn and I think, considering I’d only had ten laps in the car before qualifying, we did well.

In the races the car was strong and the pace was good, and we came through to eighth in race one. That put us one pole for race two, and I finished fourth, which I was quite happy with. Hopefully we can get on the podium in the next race.
Oliver Turvey

Turvey remains with iSport for the 2009 season and will contest both GP2 Asia and the main F1-supporting GP2 championship. He already has some experience of the circuits on the F1 calendar:

I hope to be strong everywhere. Most of the circuits I know already, which is obviously a help. There’s a few I don’t know, like the Valencia street circuit and Turkey, which I’ve never been to.

One of the early events I’m looking forward to is round two in Monaco. Street circuits for me are very challenging, I love racing on streets. After winning on my debut last year I’d like to keep up my 100% record. It’s a special circuit, so many famous drivers have won there, and it’s regarded as one of the most challenging circuits.

I think Monaco will always be one of my favourites. I love racing at Spa as well, that’s another circuit I’m looking forward to this year.
Oliver Turvey

Turvey is being supported by the Racing Steps Foundation, which helps promote talented British racing drivers who are struggling to find sponsorship.

He hopes his move up to GP2 will pave the way for a Formula 1 drive in 2011. But he knows he has to perform to make the grade:

My main focus this year is GP2 and hopefully if the results go well in that then we can get something in F1 the year after.

Nico Hulkenberg proved last year it’s possible for a rookie to win in their first year. And of course Lewis Hamilton did it too. I’ve got to approach the championship with the aim to win, and that’s iSport’s aim too.
Oliver Turvey

He has already had an F1 test courtesy of winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in 2006:

That went really well, it was down in Jerez. I didn’t get so much time in the car, I had two eight-lap runs, but it went very well and I managed to set a competitive time. I think the team were really pleased with all the work I did, we were doing some tests for them for next season and I was able to contribute to that programme.

Hopefully there will be some more opportunities but the problem at the moment with F1 is testing is so limited, just getting an opportunity to test the car is quite difficult.
Oliver Turvey

As well as his performance on the track, Turvey hopes his academic prowess will stand him in good stead for landing an F1 drive. He completed his degree in engineering at the University of Cambridge (which is my alma mater, so I’m obliged to support him!):

F1 is very technical and I think being a racing driver with an engineering degree will be very helpful in the future.
Oliver Turvey

He was even given the first sporting ‘blue’ award for motor racing handed out by the university.

For now he’s got GP2 to conquer. He’s landed one of the top drives, with the iSport team Timo Glock took to the title in 2007, but he faces tough competition. Not just from experienced team mate Davide Valsecchi, but also Ferrari-backed Jules Bianchi driving for ART.

Look out for more GP2 and GP2 Asia coverage on F1 Fanatic throughout 2010.

Oliver Turvey’s career in pictures

Images: F3 (C) British F3; Formula Renault 3.5 (C) Renault, GP2 (C) GP2 Media Service/Drew Gibson, GP2 Asia (C) GP2 Media Service/Alastair Staley

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Oliver Turvey: Alguersuari’s progress shows I’m ready for F1 (Interview)”

  1. Is Di Grassi Ferrari-backed? I think it was Bortolotti or Bianchi…

    1. Sorry I meant Jules Bianchi

  2. Just because you’re quicker than someone in one series, doesn’t mean you will be in another. Grosjean looked good in GP2, but it quickly became evident that he wasn’t quite ready for F1.

    1. Grossjeans was fast over one lap though… in practise that is.

      Message to Turvey, hopefully you’ll graduate to F1 after you need to start shaving.

  3. Cool article Keith,

    Here are a couple of pictures we took at Renault World Series of Alguersuari and Turvey together.



  4. I like how Turvey says that Alguesari is ready for f1, and that since hes been quicker than him, he is ready for the big step too. This turvey guy sounds like quite an ass clown. I would love to see them both fighting at the back of the grid sometime soon, just after they have been lapped by every other car in the race. These kids should know when to shut up.

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      23rd January 2010, 16:34

      So if you were in his position you would discourage potential offers by saying you’re not ready for F1?

      1. No. I would know how to frame my comments more appropriately.

        1. I say to earn a super license there should be a minimum age, say not a teenager. I wouldn’t watch f1 if it were over run by children. They may be able to race a little bit but I’m sure run and cry when the press gets on their back. I know kids don’t believe me, but there’s a lot to learn in your twenties. I learned more in my twenties than my teen years.

  5. Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Kamui Kobayashi – each in their own way have shown that the only way of knowing someone will be quick in F1 is for them to be quick in F1.

    I think most young drivers are coming in too early to F1, especially when they’re then thrown in the deep end. Teams need to be more responsible about their signings – Hamiltons are rare, Grosjeans are not, and in the rush to sign the next big star teams risk spoiling competent talent by rushing them in so early.

    1. To an extent, you’re right – but Grosjean is so clearly a case of a talented driver suffering by having been thrown in at the deep end, rather than being merely competent.

      Grosjean spent two years in the F3 Euroseries, then the best part of another two years in GP2. If a driver can excel perform well in both of those series (Grosjean did) and still struggle to make the step up to F1 then something is clearly wrong. Alguersuari could be written off as too much too soon – he did step up after only a single season of F3 with next to no F1 experience, after all. Kobayashi had tested Toyota’s ’09 machinery and it showed.

      It was a hallmark of 2009 that the cars were generally difficult to drive. Even a driver of Fisichella’s experience struggled to adapt to a new car mid-season. Was Grosjean really that much further away from Alonso than Fisichella was from Raikkonen?

  6. The only problem I have with Turvey is that he’s nothing special. He’s not awful by any means, but from watching him in British F3 and Formula Renault 3.5, he’s never made me sit up and think “cor, he’s good,” which is frustrating as I think he may have some potential.

    Will be interesting to see how he gets on in GP2.

  7. theRoswellite
    23rd January 2010, 18:10

    Best of it all to Mr. Turvey, hopefully he won’t be fodder for the gristmill that chews up young talent as they struggle at the back of the grid with under performing machinery on unfamiliar tracks to a less than supportive media and public. Good luck, and good luck again.

    On the subject of drivers ‘getting into F1’; it seems one N. Heidfeld has secured the role of backup driver at Mercedes. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Brawn can arrange his driving assignments so as not to have him actually performing in identical equipment under identical conditions vis a vis the two “racing” drivers in the team….especially that new guy M. Schumacher. It would be a bit embarrassing to have the understudy steal the show.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys
    23rd January 2010, 22:45

    Bold statement, but he’d be better off with a year in GP2 first.

    Also, it’s not fair that there are Formula 1 drivers younger than me.

    1. I passed that depressing landmark a long time ago.

  9. I will fully support the first driver to come out and say that they need and are looking forward to a few seasons in GP2 before F1 in order to prepare them.

  10. More one british driver!!! Oh, no! rsss…

  11. “we were doing some tests for them for next season and I was able to contribute to that programme.”

    were they supposed to be doing testing work for the next season????

    i thought the young dirvers test was just for testing the drivers not the car….

  12. Just looked at Turveys website, he is 22. So not a teenager and not as young as some of you seem to think. I was surprised to see Alguersuari secure an F1 drive and even more surprised to see him get another go at it this year. Especially as I felt Turvey was the better driver when they were pitched against each other previously.

    Good luck to him

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