Ma Qing Hua will make his return to the ABB FIA Formula E Championship this season as Oliver Turvey’s teammate at the newly-named NIO 333 team.
The Chinese driver, who currently races in FIA WTCR in an Alfa Romeo, has been allocated the seat by the BIE entity, the new owner of the NIO operation.
E-racing365 understands that NIO 333 will announce Ma and Turvey on Tuesday at Valencia and that Ma will race with No. 33 for the 2019-20 season, the same number he used at Techeetah in the 2016-17 campaign.
Turvey is set to be allocated the No. 3 car in reference to the team’s new name which alludes to a precise phrase in the Shanghai dialect which spells the number three as ‘sai’.
Ma has previously raced for Team Aguri, Techeetah and NIO and scored a best finishing position of 11th in the first of two races at Battersea, London, in 2016.
He made his most recent appearance in Formula E at the 2018 New York City E-Prix meeting when he deputized for Turvey, who broke his hand in a practice accident.
The future of Tom Dillmann in Formula E is presently not known but e-racing365 understands that he is likely to be in Valencia next week and could still test for the new-look team.
New Tech Package for NIO 333
NIO has reorganized its Season Six technical package for the new campaign after ditching the planned powertrain which it briefly tested in June.
E-racing365 can reveal that the team will use Dragon motors and inverters for the new campaign after disbanding its planned package which was an evolution of its disastrous 2018-19 setup.
Initially NIO was set to use the bespoke package but this was replaced after a deal was completed to acquire hardware used by GEOX Dragon last season.
NIO is believed to have shaken down its Season Six challenger at the Bicester Heritage facility for the first time last week.
The team has seen significant staff changes over the summer with Christian Silk now expected to initially head up team principal duties, while Barry Mortimer continues to take operational control.
Mortimer worked closely with former NIO engineer Roberto Costa over the summer during the transitional period for the team.
NIO 333 could still also utilize QEV Technologies during the coming campaign according to BIE’s CEO Vincent Wang.