Nelson Piquet Jr. has left Panasonic Jaguar Racing by mutual agreement and is set to be replaced by Alex Lynn for the remainder of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.
Piquet, who was the first ever Formula E champion in 2014-15, drove his final race with the team last weekend in Sanya where he retired with accident damage.
It was the third consecutive race that he had crashed out of.
The Brazilian scored just seven points in his last 13 Formula E races with Jaguar after a strong start last season where he took fourth-place finishes in Hong Kong on his debut and in Marrakesh and Mexico City.
“Following discussions after Sanya, Nelson and ourselves have reflected on the position of the team,” said team director James Barclay.
“Regrettably, it has been agreed that he will leave Panasonic Jaguar Racing and take up other opportunities he has been offered.
“We made a big step forward when Nelson joined us in Season Four, and he achieved some strong results for the team, but recent results have not met his or the team’s expectations.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank Nelson for all the hard work he has put in since joining us ahead of Season Four; he has contributed a significant amount into the development of the car and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
E-racing365 understands Alex Lynn is in line to replace Piquet in the No. 3 Jaguar I-Type 3 for the rest of the season.
Lynn had been approached by the team to drive at the in-season test following the Mexico City E-Prix in February.
However, a clashing commitment with his FIA World Endurance Championship employer Aston Martin Racing meant he could not take part.
He hasn’t driven in a Formula E race since last season, when he competed for DS Virgin Racing before being replaced by Robin Frijns as part of the team’s new look as Envision Virgin Racing for 2018-19.
Jaguar-Piquet Split Inevitable
Speaking before Saturday’s Sanya E-Prix, Jaguar team director James Barclay told e-racing365 that Piquet needed results quickly.
“It’s important that we do start to see those improvements because we still have half a season left and we need to maximize the second half of the campaign,” he explained.
“Ultimately, it comes down to the driver to get those results.”
After Piquet crashed out of the Sanya race while trying to fight his way back through from the rear of the grid, it seemed inevitable that a change would be made in the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team.
The British squad has been a peripheral player so far in Season Five with Mitch Evans’ fourth place at the season opener in Saudi Arabia being the highlight.
The team has been public in its need to improve its qualifying performance, having only reached Super Pole on one occasion so far this year.
The average starting position for each driver currently stands at 12th for Evans and 15th for Piquet.
Regarding his incident during the race in Sanya, Piquet said he took full responsibility but that the contact occurred due to him being forced to overdrive the car.
“We are missing something at the moment and when you are over driving the car the chances are always higher for things to go wrong,” he said.
“Obviously, it doesn’t help with both of us starting at the back. Usually there is only one strategy, which is being aggressive.
“In my case today, I take full responsibility for hitting the wall – I was pushing, I had nothing to lose and I had to try and gain positions.
“The team have been working hard but we need to work harder and continue to make progress to put us in a better position for qualifying and a better position for the race.”
E-racing365 understands that Piquet is actively pursuing other opportunities in Formula E for future campaigns.
He scored two Formula E victories at Long Beach and Moscow on his way to the inaugural crown in the first season.
UPDATE: Jaguar has since formally confirmed Lynn as Piquet’s replacement. Read more here.