Ahead of the CBMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix, e-racing.net spoke to NIO 333 driver Oliver Turvey who returns to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, looking to build on the good memories from previous seasons which includes a maiden pole and podium.
The British driver has been preparing in the Sim for the fourth round of the sixth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
“Mexico City has some special memories, taking my first pole position in Formula E during Season 3, and it was even more special in Season 4 when I took my first podium with a second-place finish.“
The driver also assessed the changes made to the circuit for the upcoming race on Saturday, February 15.
“This year, the track layout has changed, with an additional section after Turn 3 and removal of the two chicanes, which has made it a much faster circuit. Due to the faster, longer straights, the race will be more challenging on energy than previous years but has created more overtaking opportunities,” explained Turvey.
The new track layout designed for the fifth edition of the CBMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix spans on 2.606 km, a longer length to welcome for the first time in the Autodromo Hermano Rodriguez, the 24 cars featured in the grid.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, which joined in this season, will contest its first race in the circuit with the all-electric series.
ERN: Last month in Santiago, you were back in Super Pole, starting the race from P5.
In an extremely competitive series as Formula E, what can be improved as a team from one round to the next?
OT: “It felt great to be back in Super Pole in Santiago and to qualify P5 after all the changes with the team, was a fantastic achievement. The level of competition is extremely high in Formula E and is continually improving so, we as a team need to be developing faster than the others. Between races, it is important to understand what we could have done better at the previous race, in terms of setup, controls, team performance, and work on all areas, to improve for the next race.”
The thirty-two-year-old joined the Chinese team by the end of season 1 at the London E-Prix.
Since then, the driver and the team seem to have built a solid bond that endures to this day.
“I am proud this will be my fifth full season with NIO, and I am very grateful to them for the opportunity to race in Formula E. We’ve had some tough seasons, but I feel I have learned and grown to be a more complete and stronger driver, through these difficult seasons, which has allowed me to take opportunities when presented in the races,” he said.
Last season, NIO struggled with the lack of performance, scoring a total of 7 points, all by Turvey, finishing the 2018/2019 season last in the overall standings.
After a transition that led to a series of changes within the Chinese squad, a renamed team emerged, as 333 Racing, a brand owned by Shanghai Lisheng Racing Co.LTD., sealed a partnership with the team.
The transition to NIO 333 Formula E Team, included a new driver line-up with former NIO reserve driver Ma Qing Hua joining Turvey as a works driver, behind the wheel of the Gen 2 NIO FE-005.
“The transition to NIO 333 this season has allowed me to be more involved in the development and to be able to lead the team,” adds Turvey.
On February 4, the Gen 2 EVO, an evolution of the current prototype – set to debut at the 2020/2021 season, was first revealed digitally, but the car will be physically introduced to the public at the Geneva International Motor Show in the FIA stand on March 3.
We asked the British driver, who is also a graduate in Engineering at Cambridge, to assess the Gen 2 EVO, highlighting the most significant changes.
“The main change with the Gen2 EVO is probably the front wing structure. As the front wing doesn’t cover the front wheels so isn’t connected to the side pod, the front wing will be easier to damage in any contact which should prevent drivers being as aggressive and promote cleaner overtaking in the races.”
The last driver to emerge victorious at the Mexico City E-Prix is the 2016/2017 champion, Lucas Di Grassi.
Last year, the Brazilian took a memorable win for the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team, overtaking Mahindra Racing´s Pascal Wehrlein when they were approaching the finish line.
Pictures courtesy of Phaceless Photographer / NIO 33 Formula E Team