Oliver Turvey says that he has renewed confidence in being able to fight for points-scoring positions after describing the last two campaigns as “very tough seasons” in Formula E.
The NIO-backed squad, which in its various guises Turvey has raced with since 2015, became the first team in Formula E history last season not to score a single point over a full season.
Indeed, Turvey has scored all of the team’s seven points since the advent of Gen2 Formula E racing, which stretches all the way back to December 2018.
The structure of the British-based, Chinese-owned squad changed in the summer of 2019 as it became NIO333, in deference to new owners Lisheng Racing’s racing brand.
That deal was not completed fully until September 2019, leaving little time for the team to prepare for the 19/20 campaign and forcing it to use a powertrain which was largely based on Penske Autosports hardware used by the Dragon team.
This ensured that Turvey and his team-mates Ma Qing Hua and Daniel Abt stood little chance of scoring points, although the British driver came close in the second race at Diriyah, Saudi Arabia where he finished 10th on the road but was then subsequently disqualified for a technical infraction.
Since early September, NIO333 has been track-testing its new for 2021 powertrain, which features technical input from the Integral Powertrain and Xtrac companies.
Turvey now believes that he and the team are able to at least aim for points in the new-for-2021 world championship. He cited “disruptions with the change of ownership in the team” as the reason for NIO333 drawing a blank last season.
“It’s been a very tough two seasons with the Gen2 car and we’re kind of playing catch-up after a lot of hurt from a performance point of view,” Turvey told The Race.
“It’s certainly our aim to be moving, moving forwards and moving up the grid, and hopefully to be fighting for points on a regular basis.”
Turvey thinks that the improved stability of the team has contributed to a much improved preparation period than in recent seasons and that “a lot of effort has been put into season seven already in developing the new powertrain”.
“There’s definitely a lot more focus on the testing side, and being able to actually work through that testing programme, so I think in that sense it’s been so much more stable to work on something constructive,” he said.
“The new powertrain feels like a step forward and hardware-wise we have a better package than we had last year.
“There’s a lot of things on the software side as well. That side is something that is still kind of always been developed and [we’re] always trying to look for gains and improvements.”
Last month’s confirmation by the FIA on a limit of software updates and use of specific sensors in an intended effort to address costs for manufacturers could assist teams like NIO333 this season, according to Turvey.
“I guess those restrictions help the smaller teams compared to some of the bigger manufacturers probably helps,” he said.
“I hope that those regulations, and also the slight reduction in personnel we have now, also gives us a better chance to fight against the others.”
NIO333 is expected to confirm Turvey’s team-mate next week. Daniel Abt, Tom Blomqvist and Tom Dillmann have all tested for the team in recent weeks.