With one race of the new Formula E season already completed, the NIO Formula E team has much to be enthused about heading into the rest of 2019.
New driver Tom Dillmann appeared to have given the team a brilliant start, initially putting his car on the front row of the grid alongside eventual race winner Antonio Felix da Costa before a qualifying infringement relegated him to the back.
With Oliver Turvey similarly penalized, it was to both drivers’ credit that they finished 13th and 15th respectively and team boss Gérry Hughes is confident that the pair’s differing skill sets will lead to strong results this year.
“They each have slightly different skill sets and slightly different approaches,” Hughes told Motorsport Tech in Ad Diriyah. “But with Oliver being the cornerstone of the team, it ultimately means that maybe we may look at him first in terms of giving some feedback about a particular direction and we may in our minds think of him as sort of being the driver that has more experience with the team.”
Despite Turvey having more experience within the NIO team set up and competing in his fifth FE season, Hughes does not see the team as having a number one and number two driver.
“I don’t tend to view as team principal that we have a number one and number two driver. I think, at the end of the day, they are as important as each other. Clearly, Oliver has more race craft and more experience in the context of Formula E. But Tom has come on board, he’s been very quick, he’s been very consistent, he’s been very good with his feedback and he works very well with the engineers.
“So, I like to think the fact is they’re a good partnership, they work well together and hopefully they can extract performance out of each other as they lobby to be the quickest driver in the qualifying sessions and that’s what’s important – two teammates who work well together and that can extract performance out of each other.”
As is often the case in all forms of motorsport, teammates often come from different countries and with different backgrounds and cultures. And although England and France are close geographical neighbors, Hughes views Turvey and Dillmann as very different characters.
“Oliver is, as an engineer from Cambridge, an intelligent guy,” added Hughes. “He is articulate, he is a very good communicator. He has a different approach, perhaps, and a different mindset in how he approaches a weekend. Tom is perhaps a little bit more, well, being a Frenchman, I suppose he has a little bit more of that Latin temperament where he has highs and lows. But certainly, from what we’ve seen so far, I think Tom is very quick and hopefully, he can bring results to the team as well.
“So, they’re similar but different and I think they complement each other and that is the really important thing. They are different, as we all are, but it’s great that they can work together. We’ve had different driver pairings over the last couple of years since I’ve been here, and this is the one that I feel confident will bring the results in terms of those guys working together.”
Top image: 2018 / 2019 Formula E Championship Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. © Drew Gibson