NIO 333 and Oliver Turvey eye progress with new powertrain after 'impressive' test

NIO 333 has undertaken a backroom revamp since Berlin, with a number of changes to its technical teams in both China and Europe, and the Sino-British outfit is eyeing a step forward in Season 7 with its new powertrain.

The team, and its long-serving driver Oliver Turvey, who’s been at NIO 333 in its various guises since the inaugural 2014/15 Formula E campaign and returns for 2020/21, saw Season 6 as a transitional year with new owners for the then-newly christened NIO 333 Formula E Team joining the fold at its outset.

Upheaval behind-the-scenes as a result of that change of ownership prior to Round 1 in Diriyah last season meant development stalled, with NIO 333 and its engineers completing a full review of the squad’s operations and making progress during the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship to ensure an uptick for 2021.

Putting in the hours

Turvey feels that work has already yielded results, with a noticeably improved package of Spark SRT05e and NIO’s FE-005 powertrain beneath him in Berlin, and that the team’s efforts during the off-season so far will ensure further progress still prior to the season-opening double-header from Santiago, Chile in January.

“Before the start of last season, we had quite a short timeframe in getting the powertrain ready and preparing for Diriyah,” said the 33-year-old Brit. “We did an amazing job to get ourselves ready for that first race.

“We knew the first few races were going to be tough, and we’ve had a year working together, planning and prepping for Season 7. The break in Berlin gave us time to develop and we made a step forward in both our package and understanding at Tempelhof. It was super close there, in both qualifying and the races, and that provided a great learning opportunity for us."

NIO 333's new ownership has injected significant investment this year, with the manufacture of an all-new powertrain overseen by its UK research and development department accounting for a large proportion of that outlay. Both Turvey and team principal Christian Silk like what they've seen so far from the advancements being made beneath the bodywork.

“We’ve been out with the new powertrain since then and I definitely feel it’s a step forward," said Turvey. "It’s always difficult to know in a testing environment circulating on your own, as the margins in Formula E are so small, the level of the competition with the manufacturers now involved is so high and everybody improves so much year-on-year. We’ve put a huge amount of time and work in, though, on the software side too, so I’m optimistic.”

'Impressive' progress

“Obviously, during initial testing there are always bugs to iron out,” added team principal Christian Silk. “But the way the car has run is truly impressive and a real credit to the hard work put in by everyone here. 

“Our reliability has freed up engineering resource to focus on pure car performance. Initial driver feedback has been positive both in terms of car balance, consistency and pace. After Berlin we knew we had several areas to focus on, and the hard work being put in by the team to resolve these issues is really paying off in terms of feel from the driver, and the data collected from the car.

“Our plans for Season 7 are ambitious, but we are a proud team with a vast depth of experience and I know I can speak for everyone when I say we will do everything in our power to achieve these goals.”