Just Electric

New Kid in Town

Tom Blomqvist’s Formula E debut could not have been any better. The Brit finished in the points and has been putting in brilliant performances ever since. We caught up with the 24 year-old to talk about his first steps in the fully-electric championship.

In 1976, legendary American band Eagles released their hit ‘New Kid in Town’. The famous chorus reads “Where you been lately? There’s a new kid in town”; and, despite the fact that the new person the song talks about is actually fame and “its fleeting nature” according to its songwriters, the new kid’s situation that the Californians sing about could also occur in different circumstances.

Tom Blomqvist, the latest driver to join the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, is the series’ new kid in town. The Englishman may have done just two races in the series, but his performances so far are enough proof to show why Andretti and BMW have entrusted him with a seat in the Andretti ATEC-03.

The Brit put in a brilliant performance on the streets of Marrakesh, seeing the chequered flag from P9 at the end of the race, and being promoted to P8 after Maro Engel was given a penalty. “I was a bit surprised because I wasn’t really sure where I was doing in terms of which position I was running in the whole second stint”.

Over the radio, Blomqvist could not believe what his engineer was telling him. “That was quite a nice surprise, to be honest. It was a bit of a shock because I couldn’t really see the cars in front. I knew there were cars in front of me. I didn’t see the cars that had pitted a lap earlier, I was unaware”.

But it’s not news that the 24-year-old is skilled at the wheel. Son of the Swedish 1984 World Rally Championship winner Stig Blomqvist, the Briton has racing running through his veins and has shown his finesse behind the steering wheel in a variety of championships.

Having worked his way up to top-level single seater series participating in championships in New Zealand and Europe, the half-British half-Swedish New Zealand-raised driver gained notable renown when he finished second in the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, behind Esteban Ocon and ahead of Max Verstappen.

In 2015, Blomqvist made the switch to touring cars, as he was signed by BMW to participate in the prestigious DTM with Team RBM. He claimed his first win that same year, at Race 2 in Oschersleben. He continued racing in the German championship for the two following seasons.

Formula E marked his comeback to single-seaters. After taking part in the collective test in Valencia in October, he debuted in the Marrakesh ePrix, and acknowledged Formula E’s own nature is a far cry to what most drivers are used to.

“Obviously, I had a lot to learn”, commented the newcomer. “The racing is fun, is interesting, you have to use your head.  I had a lot to get used to, but I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the whole weekend format”.

His impressive debut catapulted him into becoming the talk of the town. But Blomqvist kept his feet on the ground the whole time. “I just wanted to go a good solid job, try not to make any mistakes, bring the car home, and learn as much as possible in every opportunity.  And we managed to get a decent result and good points”.

The following round took place on the streets of Santiago de Chile, where the unforgiving walls and tights corners left no room for errors and saw several incidents throughout the day. Tom finished P11, just outside the points-scoring positions, but his performance was still highlighted by the team, going from P18 to P11.

“I had to learn quickly; but I think I got on top of it quite well. And hopefully, I feel more and more comfortable after each race”, he had expressed before the race on South American soil. And it will not be a surprise to see Blomqvist in the points in the upcoming rounds of the championship.

“We want to aim for points every race, that’s the goal”, states the Brit. “With the team, we’re working hard trying to improve race by race; we’re getting better, we made a big step from last season to now; so hopefully, we can continue this way and strive for points at every weekend”.

As the Eagles song continues talking about this new kid in town, Blomqvist continues his venture into the electric world of Formula E, which in less than five years, has managed to have a grid with over a dozen top-class racing drivers, where all of them have earned their seat for a clear reason: their own talent and merits.

Andrea Perilli

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