Tom Dillmann says he feels honored to have his first full-time drive in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, praising the competitiveness of the electric single-seater series.
The Frenchman was announced at NIO in the team’s launch event on Monday evening, joining Oliver Turvey at the Anglo-Chinese outfit and replacing Luca Filippi.
He has ten Formula E starts to his name but is yet to have completed a full season, having instead done partial programs with Venturi in the previous two seasons.
“I think with the outings I did, one-off races, I performed quite well in this tough field,” he told e-racing365.
“I always felt I deserved it. It didn’t come my way for Season Four, but I knew I would have a few shots again to show what I can do that season.
“I was already in talks with a few teams because they noticed my performances and then New York came and we had a great race there which boosted it again.
“There are 200 drivers that want to be in Formula E, between all the ex-F1 drivers, DTM, endurance, they all want to be in FE.
“It’s not easy to have a seat so I’m proud to have one.”
Dillmann says he could envisage himself making a long-term career out of the growing series, praising the quality of the field.
“As a professional driver, outside of F1 it is the most professional series,” he explained. “You have all the manufacturers, there will be the four Germans which is never seen before.
“The level of professionalism, top drivers, only Pro drivers which is not the case in F1. In F1, you have drivers paying for their seat and in Formula E this is not [the case].
“You need to fight hard to get a seat, only on merit. There’s no sponsor budget involved, which is great. That’s why, for me, FE is really a way to have a great career.”
Dillmann Praises NIO’s Advancement
The 29-year-old says the increase in performance shown between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons shows the capability of NIO in the Gen 2 era.
With Turvey scoring all but one of the team’s 47 points in 2017-18, and Filippi only finishing inside the top ten in Hong Kong, Dillmann reckons the team could finish considerably higher up the standings this season.
“It gave me confidence because they made a big step from Season Three to Four,” he said.
“If you double the points of Oliver, if they had a similar score from his teammate, they would have been higher up.I don’t think that position in the championship reflects the level they were at.
“I think they will continue the trend of improvement in Season Five.
“It’s hard to say exactly where we are, if we’ll be fighting for P1 or P10 in Riyadh, it’s tough to say. Nobody knows. We’ll just have to see.”