Former Venturi and NIO Formula E driver Tom Dillmann is targeting a return this season as he sets himself up to become the go-to driver for teams that will face lineup changes over the course of the 2019-20 campaign.
Dillmann was left without a drive when his previous employer NIO changed ownership and became NIO333 in August. Despite being under contract for the present season, the French driver was usurped by Ma Qing Hua after the team specifically targeted a Chinese racer.
Now, Dillmann is working as a simulator driver for an unspecified team but remains free to fill any voids during the 2019-20 campaign.
Opportunities are likely to come at the Sanya and New York E-Prix where contracted FIA World Endurance Championship and DTM drivers will have to deal with clashing commitments.
“There are a few teams that will need a driver that we know already, due to the clashes, so I think in terms of experience, there is not many drivers that can jump in and have a chance to score points straightaway,” Dillmann told e-racing365.
“I think it’s important, we saw even in Riyadh, even the rookies made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes rookies do very well on their first race, but sometimes it’s also a bit difficult for three or four weekends, the time to learn how Formula E is working.
“If I was the team owner, I wouldn’t put a rookie for a one-off race, I would rather go for someone with more experience and can maybe take a few points for the team, and also not destroy the car. I think I’m in a strong position to do that.”
Dillmann reckons that NIO’s difficult season in 2018-19 largely masked his record and performances in the all-electric championship.
In his season with NIO, although he failed to score a point, Dillmann was only out-qualified 7-6 by Oliver Turvey during a campaign that was highly compromized by a disastrous powertrain.
“I think with Venturi, half of the races I did with them, I scored [points],” he recalls.
“It was still a small team, Venturi, so to score in half of the races I did with them I think was not too bad, especially without testing and no mileage.
“And then with NIO, I think I did well against a driver (Turvey) who is very highly rated, if we call him like that.
“I think I’m a good guy to call for the one-offs, and you never know, sometimes it just doesn’t work for some drivers in Formula E, so if some team has a big difference between two drivers, and they feel one of the two drivers is just not clicking then I’m also in a good position to jump in.”