After racing in IndyLights and IndyCar, it’s safe to say that American driver Oliver Askew was prepared for a motorsport career in the U.S. But now, he finds himself as the sole American in the globe-trotting Formula E paddock. Thankfully, he seems excited to be flying the flag for American racers on a global stage.
The American driver cut his teeth on the track while progressing through the Road to Indy program. In 2020, he landed a drive with the Arrow McLaren SP squad but found himself out of the seat at the end of the season.
“[Formula E] has definitely been on my radar, obviously with Andretti being involved since the beginning,” says Askew.
“I started my relationship with Andretti around 2018 and then won the 2019 IndyLights championship with them. So yeah, when the opportunity came up, I couldn’t say no.”
As a globe-trotting series, Formula E has since raced in Mexico City and is gearing up for its next race in Rome in two weeks time.
“It’s different for sure,” says Askew when asked how racing abroad compares to competing on home soil.
“The first two have been in Saudi and in Mexico, so two completely different parts of the world. Different demographics, but both very passionate people in sport.
“But for sure, each race that we go to is going to have a little bit of a different vibe.”
At each of these events, Askew has the lofty responsibility of representing American motorsport as the sole U.S. representative on the Formula E grid. And that, he says, is a task he has relished since joining the sport.
“I think America is one of the leading countries in the fight against climate change and I think as an American it has been awesome to fly that flag and being able to represent my country.”
That’s a flag that Askew will be flying at seven further races in five different countries before he can finally compete on home soil once again. But when Formula E finally does host two races state-side in New York City in July, Askew is hopeful that it will be one of the standout races of the year.
“I expect the energy will be that much higher and that much greater,” he says.
“Just to be supported by so many [people]. And, being the sole American in the series, to be supported by the American fans — I’m looking forward to experiencing that in New York.
“So, hopefully we can get a bunch of people out to the track.”
If a bunch of people can make it down to the track, Askew is promising a good show from Formula E. He argues that there are “more overtakes and opportunities to win races,” in FE compared with other single-seater series like Formula One.
And, despite being one of three rookie drivers in the Formula E paddock, Askew is hopeful that some of these opportunities can come his way. Especially when Formula E does race in the U.S.
He says: “Eventually, I think a win in New York City would be fantastic.”