PIQUET JR: "Managing energy levels has been a very interesting learning curve for us"
First ever Formula E champion shares his feelings after winning in Long Beach and compares Formula 1 to Formula E.
Nelson, firstly, congratulations on being the first champion of Formula E in its history. How did you decide to join Formula E?
- I’ve had a long career in racing (20 years!) and I’ve competed in a lot of different championships. I raced in F1 from 2007 to 2009 and over the past five years have done everything from NASCAR to sportscars and rallycross. When I heard about Formula E I thought it was a really interesting concept and the technology involved is the future. I knew I wanted to be involved and it’s been a great first season learning more about electric technology. I am still involved in other championships that are more traditional. I’m racing at the moment in the Global Rallycross championship which is a more traditional fuel-based motorsport competition.
Reflecting on the first question , can you briefly decribe to us how the first season looked from your perspective? Probably, besides winning the title, the race in Long Beach is one of your dearest wins, being your first win in Formula E, on a circuit where your father got his first win in Formula 1?
- Becoming World Champion of FIA Formula E is one of my best successes, I think even my best success. The win at Long Beach was very special. I felt that we were going to get a win but it almost felt like it was meant to be that weekend, it was a great moment.
The second season did not start well for your team, and you struggled a lot during testing and the first race. What led to such results?
- Season two was always going to be very interesting and a real challenge for all the teams as teams entered as manufacturers and developed their own electric motors. A lot of teams had challenging test days as everyone worked hard to get up to speed with their new equipment.
You are still probably the best driver when it comes to preserving energy, and it is something that helped you during the first two races, but in the second race of the new season, you scored your first points, which is probably something that is going to give you a push towards better results?
- Yes exactly. Our reality this year is try to score points where we can and try to do strategies like we did in Malaysia. It’s tough coming off the back of a world championship but we’ll keep going and do the best possible.
What is it like to drive a Formula E car compared to Formula 1 cars you drove during your Formula 1 years?
- The Formula E car handles much like other open wheel racing cars and I have many years of experience driving that kind of vehicle. Where it is different is the way as a team we have to learn to use the energy. Essentially it is powered by a huge battery, and a key strategy for us in the races is how we manage the energy levels. That’s been a very interesting learning curve for us.
Which circuit did you enjoy driving most during your Formula E career?
- I really enjoy the Putrajaya track in Malaysia as it’s very technical and a real drivers track. I have to say that Long Beach and Moscow were also great circuits for me!