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Closed Circuit: NextEV NIO in Montreal

The NextEV NIO squad headed to Montreal hoping to finish the season on a high. A solid performance was not rewarded though, so the team ended the season without scoring any additional points but in an overall P6 in the standings.

THE TEAM

Saturday

Having gone into the weekend believing they had a good chance of scoring points at the Montreal circuit, NextEV NIO were plagued by difficulties that saw Nelson Piquet JR qualify behind even the DS Virgins, who had been unable to use more than 170kw during their group runs, ending 19th. Oliver Turvey managed a considerably better 9th but neither driver finished in the points and despite a reasonably convincing recovery drive to 14th for Piquet JR, an incident-strewn race and crowded pitstop window left them with little to celebrate other than Turvey’s 16th placing keeping both drivers out of the firing line for pit lane altercations.

Sunday

Another mixed qualifying run left the team with not a huge amount of hope for points, with Piquet JR 8th and Turvey 16th. Although both managed to avoid some of the repeated entanglements of the race, a 16th and 17th place finish put them close to the last of cars still running and well out of the points. A disappointing finish for the last race of a fairly challenging season for the team – but with record-breaking electric performance vehicle manufacturers NIO coming onboard in time for next year’s package, the future still looks fairly turquoise.

Team mate comparison: qualifying
  • Nelson Piquet JR
  • Oliver Turvey

Team mate comparison: race
  • Nelson Piquet JR
  • Oliver Turvey

“It’s hugely disappointing to leave the final race of the season without scoring points here in Montreal. Nelson qualified in eighth today yet had to take evasive action on the first corner and that ultimately lost him four positions. Oliver was able to make a good start, moving up three places from his starting spot. Both drivers then experienced thermal issues with the powertrain during the race and we could not fight for points. Clearly this season has not been as successful for the NextEV NIO Formula-e Team as was originally hoped. However, we have some positives to take away, particularly with our qualifying performances but our weakness has been our race performance. This is something that we will be focusing on in the off-season as we must come to the first race of Season 4 in Hong Kong with an all-round competitive package”

Gérry Hughes, Team Principal

Championship standings
  • NextEV NIO

Nelson Piquet JR

Saturday

Piquet JR’s teammate, Oliver Turvey, had previously fell victim to the Birthday Curse in Mexico and it seems not to have been cured in the months since. After turning 32 the previous weekend, it was a gruellingly disappointing 19th place start for Piquet JR, behind cars with mechanical problems. Managing a clean race saw him move up to 14th but still end outside the points on the first day here.

Sunday

Unfortunately Saturday’s problems were not solvable overnight, seeing Piquet JR’s qualifying pace improve to a top-ten start in 8th that sadly slipped to 16th during the longer race. Although a disappointing end to the season, Season one champion Piquet JR ends this year with 33 points – more than quadrupling his Season two score of eight, so although it might not quite have felt it, things are looking up.

Nelson Piquet JR: lap chart
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

Best time in FP1: 1:24.193 (P10)

Best time in FP2: 1:23.033 (P10)

Best time in qualifying: 1:26.165 (P19)

Best time in the race: 1:26.492 (lap 30)

Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 57.713s (0.713s above minimum time)

Best time in FP3: 1:23.547 (P16)

Best time in FP4: 1:22.303 (P12)

Best time in qualifying: 1:22.972 (P9)

Best time in the race: 1:25.043 (lap 15)

Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 59.083s (2.083s above minimum time)

“Obviously we are really disappointed with how the last few races of the season have gone. We hoped to end in a more positive way and were aiming for points this weekend but unfortunately that hasn’t happened due to the problems we’ve had with the car. I was unfortunate to be held up in the first corner incident today and then suffered some thermal issues with the powertrain which meant we had to change our strategy and do a shorter first stint. I was taking some risks in the second stint and it didn’t work out. We have had some highs and lows this season; we were very happy with pole in Hong Kong and I was also pleased with the result in Monaco, but we still have a huge amount of work to do in order to fight at the top and that has to be the focus before we return to Hong Kong in December.”

Championship standings
  • Nelson Piquet JR

Oliver Turvey

Saturday

Oliver Turvey has had a weird year – moments of brilliance usually followed up by howling disappointment, such as starting from pole on his 30th birthday and then a few laps later retiring from the lead, his car quietly ending its race. It is something a lot of teams and drivers have seen in season three, as increased regen made the racing and maintenance more complex and not something he managed to escape in Montreal. Despite outqualifying his teammate by ten places on the Saturday, he slipped back through a fighty pack to end behind Piquet JR when he lost nearly half a minute on the last lap.

Sunday

Despite optimism that Saturday’s experience might have improved setup for the following day, Sunday proved to be another frustrating race. The Montreal circuit is a complex beast and managing both steering and the braking control needed to sustain an extra two laps for the finale race is no mean feat, so an initial improvement is to be celebrated even if the end result was a point-free 17th.

Oliver Turvey: lap chart
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

Best time in FP1: 1:24.363 (P14)

Best time in FP2: 1:22.983 (P9)

Best time in qualifying: 1:23.923 (P9)

Best time in the race: 1:26.311 (lap 34)

Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 57.948s (0.948s above minimum time)

Best time in FP1: 1:23.356 (P13)

Best time in FP2: 1:21.811 (P7)

Best time in qualifying: 1:23.709 (P17)

Best time in the race: 1:25.937 (lap 9)

Pit stop time and difference to minimum pit stop time: 58.279s (1.279s above minimum time)

“This morning in practice I thought we made a few steps forward with set-up. I felt confident going into qualifying but the track seemed to change and unfortunately I clipped the wall which cost us a lot of time and a potential top ten qualifying. Starting at the back is always hard. I had quite a good start and the pace appeared good in the opening laps but the second stint was much harder and in the end we couldn’t keep position. It was a shame to end the season like this but we have to take some positives from the year. I got my first Formula E pole position in Mexico and led a race and to finish sixth in the manufacturers’ championship was a step forward from last year, so hopefully we can build on that for next season.”

Championship standings
  • Oliver Turvey

HAZEL SOUTHWELL | e-racing.net

Images courtesy of FIA Formula E Media

About Antonia Grzelak
Toni is the founder and CEO of e-racing.net. Apart from taking care of management and marketing, she acts as the editor-in-chief and is responsible for ERN's content strategy. Furthermore, she is our very own caffeine addict and is barely ever seen without a huge coffee mug in her hand.