Oliver Turvey did lockdown in Monte Carlo – but insists it was no different to being back home in Cumbria.
The NIO 333 driver is one of Formula E’s most loyal servants and makes the long-awaited return to the track on Wednesday.
The all-electric series are hosting the most intense finale in the history of motorsport by staging six races on three different track layouts in a nine day period, all at Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport.
For Turvey, it’s a full-throttle return to the day job after spending months holed up in his adopted base of Monaco.
But aside from the odd sprinkle of glitz and glamour, the 33-year-old insists the French Riviera is just like the Lakes where he grew up.
“There’s quite a lot of outdoor activities and for me, it is a really nice, relaxing place to be” Turvey explained.
“I enjoy cycling a lot, which is really good down here. I am also into running.
“Even though these are technically training, I do see these as other sports that I enjoy, and it’s relaxation time to get on my bike and go out for runs in the mountains.”
On track, 2020 hasn’t quite gone to plan for Turvey, with his only point-scoring finish being stripped from him due to a technical infringement in Saudi Arabia.
But walk around the paddock, and anyone will tell you that he is the most underrated driver on the grid.
He’s won the same coveted youth awards as the likes of Jenson Button and Lando Norris – and achieved it all while obtaining an engineering degree at Cambridge, where he also became the very first motorsport Full Blue.
He has been McLaren’s F1 test driver for a decade and although the elusive call-up to the main grid hasn’t come, he’s hungry to find joy with NIO 333 in Formula E, with whom he is in a sixth season.
“There are many factors in getting to Formula One. There are not many seats, not many opportunities,” he said.
“McLaren gave me the first opportunity to be a professional driver and I think that is something that I have always remembered. I have been loyal to them because they were the first team that gave me the opportunity – and that is one of the reasons why I am still there today.
“I wouldn’t say I am frustrated, I am just glad to be honest that I have been able to make a career as a professional driver.
“There are so many drivers that I raced against in karting and in junior single-seaters who were all competitive but didn’t have the opportunities to make it.
“I am very grateful for the opportunities that I have had with McLaren as a test driver and now with Formula E to race.
“The level of competition in Formula E is really tough now and there are a lot of big manufacturers involved and the level of the drivers is really high.
“But I think that is what motivates me as a driver.
“I was to compete at the highest level and to be successful, so from my side it is easy to keep motivated.
“One of my career goals was to be a world champion and I guess when I was younger, that was definitely one of the aims.
“Now that Formula E from next season will become a full FIA world championship, my aim now is to try and achieve that.”
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