Nelson Piquet Jr. is set to replace Adam Carroll at the Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E team, e-racing365 has learned.
The inaugural FIA Formula E champion is expected to make the move from NIO, formerly NextEV, lining up alongside Mitch Evans for Season Four.
Confirmation of Piquet joining the team is set to be made next week when he and Evans are to be formerly announced.
Piquet has long been on Jaguar’s wanted list and initial talks were held between the parties before the team’s entry last year. These were revisited in early summer and a deal is believed to have been finally concluded last month.
Jaguar is known to have courted recently confirmed DS Virgin drivers Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, with Lynn having tested for the team in August. This was in addition to his public test at Donington Park last year.
The Lynn/Jaguar test took place with the blessing of DS Virgin boss Alex Tai, who then activated a clause in his agreement with Lynn to take up a race option for Season Four.
With Bird also contractually tied up, this paved the way for the Piquet deal to be finally completed.
E-racing365 understands that Piquet’s signing came despite a last ditch attempt by NIO to keep its star asset, who has been an ever-present with the team that formed from the Team China Racing set-up.
Piquet is considered as one of the best Formula E drivers because of his skill at managing energy and his general feel for the often awkward braking characteristics of the cars.
The Brazilian, however, is coming off a less-than-stellar two seasons with NextEV, which struggled with adapting a now-unique to Formula E twin-motor system.
Former Piquet Engineer Also Joins Jaguar
E-racing365 has also discovered that a former race engineer of Piquet’s at the Renault F1 team, Phil Charles, has recently joined Panasonic Jaguar Racing.
Charles arrived at the team last month after previously working with Piquet in 2008-9. He then went on to start his own karting company before being Chief Race Engineer at Toro Rosso from 2013-17.
It remains unclear on Charles’ precise role but it is known that Carroll’s former engineer, Patrick Coorey, will continue with the team for a second season.
This would indicate that Charles will work alongside John Russell in an overarching engineering role.