Starting out in Karts in 1996, after three years, in which he won a number of local championships, Oliver progressed to the British Cadet Kart Championship, in which he finished fifth, and was selected for the English National Kart Team which won that year's Inter-nation Championship.
In 2000, he moved up to the Junior Yamaha National Championship winning the title at the first attempt, an achievement which saw him selected by Martin Hines for the prestigious Zip Young Guns team.
As lead driver with the Zip Young Gun team, in 2001 he finished sixth in the British Junior TKM championship. The following year, still with the Zip Young Gun team, he won the British Junior Rotax Kart championship.
Oliver made his single-seater debut in the 2003 British Formula Renault Winter Series, spending the remainder of the year contesting the Zip Formula Jordan Ford Cup in which he finished runner-up.
2004 saw him contest the Formula BMW UK Championship with Team SWR, the seventeen-year-old taking one win. Late in the year he was invited to participate in a round of the Asian F3 Championship, he won.
Oliver remained in the Formula BMW UK Championship in 2005, contesting sixteen of the twenty races and scoring six podiums and one pole. The following season, restricted by budget, the youngster could only contest fourteen of the twenty races, nonetheless, he finished runner-up (to Niall Breen) courtesy of five wins and the fact that he scored points in every race entered.
Rather than British F3, for 2007 Oliver chose to head to the European mainland, there he took part in Italian Formula Renault, the Formula Renault Eurocup, a couple of guest drives in the Porsche Carrera Cup and even testing with Britain's A1GP team.
In 2008, Oliver did choose British F3, and finished runner-up to Jaime Alguersuari, with four wins, thirteen podiums (more than any other driver) and four pole positions. He also contested the Macau F3 Grand Prix, finishing 4th and 7th, the best performance by a British driver.
For 2009 Oliver moved up to the World Series by Renault with Carlin, where he was paired with Alguersuari. Finishing the season fourth overall, with one win, he was top rookie.
2009 also saw him make his F1 debut, driving for McLaren at the Young Driver Test in Jerez.
At the end of 2009, early 2010, Oliver contested the GP2 Asia Series with iSport, remaining with the British team for the main series. He finished sixth in both. In addition to his GP2 activities, the youngster took part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, finishing second quickest, and the post-season Pirelli tyre test.
Though he had previously enjoyed backing from the Racing Steps Foundation - which aids young British racing drivers in the junior categories - this ran out at the end of 2010, consequently Oliver didn't have the budget in place for another season of GP2. However, he was drafted by Carlin, making its GP2 debut, to replace Mikhail Aleshin in Monaco, the Russian struggling to find the money for a full season. Though Oliver finished in the points he was subsequently penalised for jumping the start.
Other than taking part in the Blancpain Endurance Series as a works driver for McLaren GT3 team, Oliver filled his time as reserve driver for the Woking outfit's F1 team, much of his time spent in the simulator.
Away from the race track, it's interesting to note that Oliver attended Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge as an undergraduate, where he studied engineering. In late 2007, he applied to become a Cambridge Full Blue, the highest honour that can be awarded to a sportsman at the university. He completed his bachelors degree in 2008 and was awarded the Full Blue by the university, the first ever racing driver to be awarded the accolade. His Master's will include a dissertation on F1 aerodynamics.