Posted 27 February, 2021 at 18:54
NIO 333 Formula E Team made a solid start to its 2021 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship campaign tonight when drivers Oliver Turvey and Tom Blomqvist took the chequered flag at the end of Race 1 of the Diriyah E-Prix in P10 and P18 respectively.
Under the spectacularly lit track and Arabian night sky the action was fast and fierce, with plenty of drama throughout the first competition of Round 1 of the all-electric racing series.
The result places NIO 333 and Oliver firmly on the Teams' and Drivers' Championship points boards - a welcome sight to the 333 Racing team members in China, Oxford (UK), and Diriyah.
Oliver Turvey, NIO 333 FE 001 #8
Qualifying Group 3 - Race Grid Position: P13
Round 1, Race 1 Result: P10
“I had a clean start and was able to gain a position in to turn 1, getting around the outside of Nato, which helped a lot in the first stint of the race. I was able to keep a gap to him and the first laps felt quite competitive with the guys around me. I think we managed the race well as a team; it was nice to be back racing again! The two safety periods made the restarts tricky, but we did a good job and took Attack Modes at the right times and came through the race without any issues. To move forward from P13 to finish P10 for the first race of season 7 is a good step from last year, and I'm really happy to be able to score the first points for the team in the first Formula E World Championship season."
Tom Blomqvist, NIO 333 FE 001 #88
Qualifying Group 4 - Race Grid Position: P22 (following Stewards' Penalty from P7 for "Failing to reduce speed under double yellow flag.")
Round 1, Race 1 Result: P18
“The day started well; the engineers made changes overnight and the car felt much better this morning. I was confident going in to qualifying as I was in a good group, the pace was there, and I set a good lap time. But unfortunately, due to a sporting infringement, I had my time removed and after that I was going to be starting on the back foot, which was very frustrating. At the start of the race I then had a drive through penalty for an over-power, which obviously makes life even more difficult. With the way the safety cars panned out here, the pace of the [race] cars just gets too quick and to make up any ground from the back becomes very difficult.
But there are positives. Oliver scored a point for the team and that's great for the guys. We now know that we have a car that can fight for points and that there's a base there that we can fight with. We just have to keep improving and building on that. We have another race tomorrow, so hopefully we can take what we learned today and improve again for race two. It should be good."
Christian Silk, NIO 333 FE Team Principal
“It's great to be able to score a World Championship point at the first race of the season. Oliver drove a well-controlled race under exceptionally difficult conditions and came away with his just rewards. I am sorry for Tom that he did not have a clear run at things, but it's very encouraging how quickly he has settled into the team and his pace in qualifying was truly impressive, so I am sure we can look forwards to a great season with him.
I would like to thank the whole team for all its hard work. The race was certainly challenging for the engineers to control with all the safety car periods, and to keep the mechanics on their toes we threw some challenging hardware changes at them which they coped with admirably. Finally, I would like to thank the rest of the team in China and the UK, as ever they had our backs!"
The all-electric street racing action starts all over again tomorrow morning with the third Free Practice session of Round 1 starting at 13:45 local time (10:45 GMT), Qualifying at 16:00 (13:00 GMT) and Race 2 at 20:03 (17:03 GMT) to conclude the Arabian event.