The NIO 333 FE Team, partnered by Acronis, seems to have turned a corner after a highly encouraging start to the 2021 ABB Formula E season.
Following a troublesome couple of years fighting it out at the tail end of the grid, stalwart driver Oliver Turvey and new teammate Tom Blomqvist impressed in Ad Diriyah as both drivers made Super Pole and Turvey delivered points in both rounds.
This result did not happen overnight, however, and was rather the result of months of hard work during the off season in developing the performance whilst maintaining a reliable powertrain. As team boss Christian Silk is quick to point out, the results of that hard work are finally beginning to bear fruit, although there is still much to be done.
“For Season 6, and as 333 Racing, we were very much in a transition year, trying to recover from these points with minimum time to do so,” commented Silk in a recent team release. “It was therefore a case of getting a car on the grid that was safe and reliable without having much time to spend on developing its performance.
“Now for Season 7 we have had another year to develop our systems and that is starting to show with the improved performance. However, we know that we still have some way to go. As a team we have a lot of experience and I believe we know what is required, but we are still suffering a little from the consequences of earlier seasons.”
Key to any successful team in motorsport is to have consistency in staff, a strong engineering baseline and most importantly a happy and positive working environment. Finally, Silk sees those important aspects as coming together to deliver positive performances on track.
“As well as changes in hardware, there have been some changes in staff, some due to natural wastage and some due to the changes in the situation of the team. We have kept our strong engineering backbone, but have also managed to strengthen ourselves in other key areas. For me it is very important that we foster an atmosphere within the team that people enjoy and can give their best in.
“We focus on the psychological wellbeing of our drivers, but the whole team needs to be mentally and physically at its best. As a team we need to support each other when things are difficult and congratulate each other when things go well. There is a saying that surviving difficult times makes you stronger – if that is the case we should be the strongest team out there! I am not so arrogant to say this (although as Team Principal I obviously believe it), but I will say that we are a small, very closely knit unit where we respect each other and are all pushing for success.
“In Diriyah I had several team members come to see me to say how much they enjoy working in the team and this is what I am looking for – a team where people can give their best because they enjoy it and want to, and in that way we will attract the best people. To be successful in motorsport you really need to be strong in all areas and obviously this is what we are aiming for.”
Even the strongest of teams, however, will only see those results manifest into solid points if it has the drivers capable of delivering on race day. And in Turvey and Blomqvist, Silk believes he has one of the strongest pairings on the FE grid.
“I mentioned before the start of the season how strong I thought our driver pairing is and, having worked as a team in Diriyah, my feelings that we have one of the strongest pairings in Formula E is only strengthened.
“Oliver’s pace in qualifying is legendary and it is obvious that he has lost none of his ability to extract the maximum from the car when it really matters. From testing it looked like Tom would be the equal of Oliver, but you never know how it is going to go when the pressure is on and the driver has one go at it. From what we can see from Rounds 1 and 2 Tom is every bit as quick as Oliver in qualifying, so it is going to be an interesting season.”