Luca Filippi has lost his NIO drive ahead of the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship with Tom Dillmann emerging as the favorite to replace him.
The Italian is believed to have been informed of the decision last month after he conducted several test days with the new car earlier in the summer.
He told e-racing365 at the New York City finale that he expected to stay for another season, while he was understood to have been under consideration for a drive.
The former IndyCar and GP2 racer showed flashes of his ability, notably in Rome and Zurich, but was involved in many incidents and only accrued a single championship point in his 11 starts with the team last season.
NIO temporarily replaced him for the Paris E-Prix with test and reserve driver Ma Qing Hua, who also replaced the injured Turvey in New York.
“Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to thank Luca for his commitment to the role of race driver with the NIO Formula E Team, something that he undertook with immense dedication and pride, in what proved to be the most competitive season in the championship’s history,” said team principal Gerry Hughes.
“Whilst it was a challenging inaugural season for Luca, he remained focused and energised and this has certainly helped the team with the initial development of the NIO 004 car over the summer months, whilst Oliver has continued to recover from his hand injury sustained in the penultimate race of Season Four.
“However, with Season Five firmly in our sights and having bold ambitions as NIO’s racing operation, we have decided to make changes to our race driver lineup and as a result we have to say goodbye and good luck to Luca.”
Dillmann Emerges as NIO Favorite
Filippi’s place in the NIO team looks set to be taken by Dillmann with the Frenchman now tipped to partner Turvey.
Should Dillmann be chosen, he would embark on his first full-time ABB FIA Formula E Championship program after making ten race starts for Venturi between 2017-18.
E-racing365 revealed earlier this month that Dillmann had been among several drivers who had tested for NIO.
He attended a test with the team at Calafat last week and is expected to get a full-time role with the team when it reveals its car in London on Oct. 8.
NIO initially used Turvey and Filippi in its Gen 2 development testing while the Italian undertook the lion’s share of running while Turvey recovered from his injuries.
Loic Duval, Oliver Rowland and Nyck de Vries have also been called upon for testing with the Anglo-Chinese team.