NIO 333 Formula E has admitted that despite scoring points in five out of nine races so far, exceeding the combined tally of the past two seasons, they are still disappointed to be in the last place in the standings.
The Chinese-flagged outfit, who are set to relocate to a new facility in Silverstone in September as part of a consolidation, has admitted that the team is inching closer to being regular points finishers and hopefully, secure a podium.
“I don’t think we can put the car on pole without advantageous circumstances, but we can get ourselves into the top 10 on merit alone,” said Chief Technical Officer Duncan Laycock. The team sits at the bottom of the teams’ championship in 12th position, 24 points behind rival Dragon/Penske.
“From the seasons before where the team was effectively a number of seconds off the back of the pack, we’ve definitely managed to put ourselves in the mix where we are regular midfielders, occasional points scorers, and our plan is to be regular points scorers and edging towards that ever-elusive podium.”
NIO 333 brought an update to its car to the Puebla e-Prix, an upgrade despite its improvements, Laycock feels is not accurately reflective of where NIO 333 can be.
“People seem to have got their acts together now, so it’s a little bit more status quo in the pecking order, but we are still hopeful we can take advantage and increase our performance and we can make a step,” Laycock explained.
Quoting the example of Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara, Laycock elaborated on how he believes it is still possible for NIO 333 to improve its position in the standings, in the span of the races, if optimistic. Mortara climbed up from 11th to the top of the standings with a win and third place in Puebla.
“It’s not like there’s anybody that’s a runaway leader. You can get two podiums and suddenly you find yourself leading the championship,” he elaborated. “They [Dragon] definitely maximized when others were failing and therefore they got a big points haul.”
“So with a couple of good results we can make some big steps up the championship and that’s how Dragon has found themselves so many points ahead of us.”
Laycock explained how Formula E is ultra-competitive this year, and that there have been several winners so far and positions being traded in the standings. Despite the team’s high expectations, he has said that he would like NIO 333 to punch above their weight.
“We definitely set our hopes higher than that, but if you look at the number of winners there have been so far this year and if you look at how close qualifying is, I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved, just because it’s become ultra-competitive and all of the teams have closed up, and the time covering the entire grid is really quite small,” he said.
“Our original aim was to score some points, which we’ve achieved, but given our early performances in the year we’ve raised our expectations and we would like to move up – whether or not we manage that or not remains to be seen.”