The new-look NIO333 team completed additional “positive” testing days at the end of October, according to its new team principal Christian Silk.
Test days in Spain and the UK focused on performance runs after largely baseline installation and reliability testing at the group test in Valencia last month.
The Chinese-entered, UK-based team made some management changes in the summer when the former management team of Gerry Hughes and Paul Fickers departed after presiding over a disastrous 2018-19 campaign which yielded just seven points.
Former Williams F1 engineer Silk has taken over the position of team principal for this season and has spearheaded the readying of new technical packages which includes Season Five motors and inverters from Penske Autosport.
“We had a positive last couple of tests,” Silk told e-racing365.
“It’s the classic thing of the last run on the last day of the last test, you’re still learning stuff, you try something a bit different, a bit more out there and you learn something new again.”
Silk though gave some caution to the new team’s 2019-20 expectations but does believe the new NIO FE-005 will prove to be a more competitive proposition than last season’s challenger.
“We’re not totally out of the woods reliability-wise, there’s always more stuff to do, but the focus has switched much more over to performance on the car,” he said.
“We definitely have moved forward from last year, but there’s still a long way to go. Are we quicker than last year? Yes. Have we got more room to go? Yes, that’s for sure.”
Improved Working Atmosphere at NIO333
A much improved atmosphere and positivity in the NIO333 team will help it as it embarks on a first season in its new guise according to Silk.
An uncertain summer preceded the acquisition of the team by new majority stakeholder Shanghai Lisheng Racing Co. Ltd.
This and the subsequent move away from the team’s originally planned 2019-20 powertrain ensured a late formation of its cars and subsequent testing program.
The team did retain a large number of former NIO staff in addition to some engineers from the QEV Technologies company which had formerly worked with Mahindra Racing.
“When we had the difficult summer we had a meeting here, we got all the staff together, and we discussed it,” said Silk.
“We all said, yes, we’ve got a difficult job ahead of us, but we’re all racers, we’ve been doing this job a long time.
“We know what we’ve got to get on and do so let’s roll our sleeves up and get on and do it.
“I won’t say it’s been easy. There have been some very stressful moments but we’ve got through them so far.
“After the last test, I got the team together and said ‘Let’s take a couple of minutes to think about what we’ve achieved so far and give yourself a pat on the back’.
“I think the atmosphere in the team feels much better. It’s difficult because we haven’t had chance, we’re so nose to the grindstone at the moment we haven’t had chance to take stock, but it has definitely been a sea change in the atmosphere in the team.”