Season 3 had been an interesting one for NIO as, whilst the car was quick over one lap in qualifying, the races were a different story altogether. The Chinese squad went into Season 4 hoping for improved fortunes.
Oliver Turvey had even got a pole position in Mexico City in Season 3 before retiring from the race. They did get some good results in Season 3 with the highlight being Nelson Piquet’s fourth place at Monaco which was the team’s best result.
Piquet then left the team ahead of Season 4 in order to become Mitch Evans’ teammate at Jaguar, so Luca Filippi was brought in to replace him at the NIO squad. Ma Qing Hua also made a couple of cameo appearances during the season but more on those later on.
NIO once again struggled with consistency, as Oliver Turvey scored 46 of the team’s 47 points but also missed the final two races in New York due to injury. The team only got one solitary point from the other car which prevented them from placing higher in the final standings.
NIO’s 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Statistics:
Podiums: 1 (2nd Place Mexico City ePrix)
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Points: 47
Constructors’ Championship: 8th
They scored fewer points than last season and finished third from bottom in the Teams’ Championship but this doesn’t tell the full story of NIO’s season.
Turvey’s points total went from 26 points to 46 points and as well as being faster in race trim, it was crucially, more efficient as well. In fact, Turvey managed that despite having to sit out the doubleheader in New York with a broken finger sustained in a crash in the second free practice session.
As for Filippi and Ma, Filippi started off the season well with a point in the opening race in Hong Kong but it all went downhill from there with his next best result being a twelfth place in Santiago de Chile.
Ma filled in for Filippi in Paris and struggled for pace before an inverter issue left him going nowhere slowly. He was also drafted in at the last minute for Turvey after the British driver was forced to sit out the meeting and he did a commendable job indeed in the wet and on a track he hadn’t driven before.
Podiums: 1 (2nd, Mexico City ePrix)
Drivers’ Championship: 10th (46 points)
Oliver Turvey has done the lifting in the team as he was responsible for their only podium of the season with a well-deserved second place in Mexico City. He scored all but one of the points the team scored all season as well.
He also had the most impressive qualifying run of any driver in the series by qualifying in the top 10 at all bar two rounds this season, those being Zurich and New York.
The injury sustained in Free Practice 2 in New York ended his season early but the British driver has a lot of good moments to look back on from this season.
Best Finish: 10th
Drivers’ Championship: 21st (1 point)
Contrary to what the results may suggest, Filippi is not a bad driver by any stretch of the imagination, far from it in fact. He did, however, destroy the 1970’s notion that sideburns make you a faster driver.
Filippi actually scored the teams’ first point of the season with a tenth after the opening race in Hong Kong but from there on in, the results tailed off.
A couple of collisions with Edoardo Mortara in Marrakesh and Mexico City didn’t help matters, nor did what happened at his home race in Rome. He firstly missed the chance to do a 200kw lap and then to top things off, hit the back of Turvey’s car while trying to pass Mortara and they both became part of a four-car pileup.
Ma Qing Hua
Best Finish: 13th
Drivers’ Championship: 24th (0 points)
Ma made his first appearance in Paris replacing Filippi in the #68 car and, in the race, he didn’t get very far thanks to inverter issues.
However, in New York, he was drafted in at very short notice to replace the injured Turvey in car #16 and did a good job.
He kept the car out of the wall in both the wet practice session and the dry race – although he did hit the wall and damage his suspension just before starting his 200kw lap in qualifying – en route to a commendable 13th place finish.