NIO Formula E Team: Rome E-Prix Report
Track:Circuito Cittadino Dell’EUR
Track length: 2.860 kilometres
14 April 2018: The action was as exciting as the historic location for the inaugural CBMM Niobium Rome E-Prix, round seven of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, however the result was not as the NIO Formula E Team had hoped for in the Italian capital.
The Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR is the second longest track in the calendar at 2.86 kilometres in length. With a total of 21 turns, the start/finish line is located on Via Cristoforo Colombo, with the cars racing around the Obelisco di Marconi against the backdrop of the iconic Colosseo Quadrato.
#16 NIO 003 driver Oliver Turvey qualified in P7 for the Roman race, whilst local hero Luca Filippi set the 18th fastest lap time in the #68 sister NIO Formula E Team race car.
Oliver made a blistering start to the all-electric gladiatorial contest this afternoon, swifty moving up to fifth on the opening lap. Luca also made a solid start, making up three positions in the first stint, however diminishing energy and an incident at Turn 13 ultimately put pains to both NIO Formula E Team drivers’ points gaining ambition.
After clean and quick pitstops from both sides of the NIO Formula E Team garage Oliver took the chequered flag at the end of the race in P12, with Luca in P13.
Oliver Turvey (#16 NIO 003)
“It was a bit of an up and down day. I was pleased with my qualifying lap; it was a shame to miss out on Super Pole by only a tenth of a second, but overall, I was pleased with P7. I had a great start to the race - went around the outside again in to turn one, remembering what had happened in Hong Kong where I was able to gain some positions going into a tight hairpin. It was great to be in P5; I was on target with energy and was feeling good, but then we arrived at the last few laps of the first stint with less energy than the guys around me, so I lost quite a few positions. Then we also had an incident with Lopez, which pushed me in to Nick [Heidfeld] and we ended up losing a lot of time on the last lap because of that. We had a good chance of some points today and need to understand where we can improve, but the Rome event has been fantastic and I’m looking forward to heading to the next one in Paris.”
Luca Filippi (#68 NIO 003)
“It was a very exciting day - so many people, a great crowd and excitement around NIO. The race was very good for me, I had good pace and I was strong. I did some quite good overtaking manoeuvres, but unfortunately on the last lap of the first stint I was behind Lopez and Oliver and when they got together the road in front of me was blocked and there was nothing I could do. The second stint was good; I caught again the group in front, but it was too late to convert this in to points. I would like to thank the fans for their support on Fanboost, it was the third time this year that I received it, so a big thank you to our fans.”
Gérry Hughes, Team Principal, NIO Formula E Team
“It was a tough day in the NIO Formula E Team camp and not the result any of us wanted to take away from the inaugural Rome E-Prix. Qualifying was blighted by an issue which saw Luca unable to post a time using 200 kW and hence he started the race towards the back of the grid. Oliver had a better time in Qualifying, although narrowly missing out on Super Pole and as a result, lined-up 7th on the grid.
After a clean race start from both Oliver and Luca, the two NIO drivers were stationed in 5th and 15th respectively mid-way through the first stint; Oliver doing a great job of holding Buemi at bay in P6. However, with Oliver struggling with low energy over the last two laps of his stint, he started to lose positions to those around him.
Then followed a racing incident involving Lopez, Heidfeld and Oliver at Turn 13, which was then further compounded by Oliver being collected by his team mate, this ultimately was the catalyst for the end of Oliver’s race today.
With both cars sustaining heavy crash damage, they limped back to the pits for the all-important pit stop, after which they both re-joined the circuit at the back of the field. The second half of the race was fairly unexciting for the NIO pairing, with Oliver and Luca eventually finishing in 12th and 13th positions respectively. The team will now re-group and focus on the forthcoming Paris E-Prix in a couple of weeks’ time.”