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Filippi Confident of Season Five NIO Seat

Luca Filippi believes he will be on the grid with NIO again next season…

Photo: Formula E

Luca Filippi looks set to retain his seat at NIO for Season Five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

The Italian tested the team’s Gen 2 car at Calafat last week and told e-racing365 that he is expecting to return to the Chinese-entered squad next season.

“From my point of view and from my contract’s point of view there is nothing much to be discussed because if we do things as planned we will do testing as normal and next season’s racing as normal,” Filippi said at the New York City E-Prix.

“With the new Gen 2 car I feel much more happy with and it all seems more positive.”

Filippi is set to continue with the vast majority of development work on the Gen 2 car next month after Oliver Turvey was injured at the New York City E-Prix.

Filippi scored a single point in Season Four with a tenth-place finish at the season-opening Hong Kong E-Prix in December.

Over the rest of the season he registered seven finishes outside the points and had three retirements.

He was taken out by Antonio Felix da Costa in Race 2 at the New York City E-Prix and freely acknowledges that he was often at the wrong end of incidents during his rookie campaign.

“It is not a secret that I didn’t get the results that were expected this season,” said Filippi. “The beginning of the season was not bad from my point of view.

“We were a little unlucky and some of the performance has been there.”

After a difficult weekend in Rome, Filippi was temporarily replaced by Ma Qing Hua at Paris as pressure mounted for the team’s Chinese reserve driver to compete in at least one race.

“Rome should have been a good turning point as I was very competitive there,” he said.

“But the qualifying issue and then the accident made everything more difficult. That changed the season really and it got a little more difficult.”

Turvey’s Future at NIO Unclear

Oliver Turvey’s future at the Chinese team is uncertain despite scoring all but one of its 47 points which placed it eighth in the final teams’ standings.

The British driver is believed to have an agreement with the team for 2018-19 but e-racing365 understands that he may have the ability to extricate himself if a certain finishing position in the teams’ standings is not achieved in the previous season.

NIO finished sixth in the 2016-17 teams’ standings with a total of 59 points scored by Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. who departed for the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team shortly after the end of that season.

Turvey is known to have received significant interest from at least one other manufacturer in recent weeks and is believed to be currently considering several opportunities including an existing one from NIO.

However, e-racing365 has learned that Turvey could face between eight and ten weeks out of the cockpit after injuring his right hand in New York earlier this month.

This is likely to further complicate the current driver marketplace and could be a decisive factor on where Turvey races next season.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jackal

    July 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Too funny, NIO is set to keep the driver that barely scores any points and lose the driver that scores almost all of their points. Good thinking

    • Deano

      July 26, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      I do like Luca Filippi but he has to step his game up if he is to make it very far into next season. I think that Virgin would be a great place for Oliver beside Sam Bird and would make a formidable line up. NIO really need to keep Oliver Turvey though……

      • krisg

        July 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm

        With many seats available for next season plus the two additional created by HWA joining, pretty sure that Oliver can find a better deal and I’m not sure that Virgin is the place for him to go as despite the alleged switch to Audi motors, the acquisition of Virgin by Envision it’s unclear at this state where the team stands.

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