Despite possibly becoming disenchanted with the series during his time with Jaguar Racing, Nelson Piquet Jr. could be a perfect fit for Dragon Racing and NIO as both teams look to end the slump they have been encountering.
It was clear that Piquet Jr. wanted to win races at Jaguar, but clearly this didn’t come to pass. This may have led to the Brazilian to start to lose interest in the series, which became evident in many of his performances. In season four Piquet Jt was consistently well within the top ten scoring three fourth places finishes in the first five races of the season.
He then had a run of bad luck where he would retire from the next five of six races. Going into season five, there was a lot of optimism about Jaguar being ready to challenge for race wins, as this was the team’s target.
But at the start of the season, the win looked miles away, and it seemed that Piquet’s demeanour had fallen with the lack of hope for even challenging for a podium.
Piquet left the team after the Sanya E-Prix, but the team’s fortunes seemed to change instantly as in the following round Jaguar claimed their first victory and became far more competitive in closing stages of season five.
So why is Piquet perfect fit for either NIO or Dragon Racing? Well, both teams have lost their way with performance. It’s easy to forget that NIO actually took the first-ever front-row lockout in Formula E, led by Piquet Jr. in Hong Kong in season three.
One of the advantages of having Piquet Jr. in your team is that his technical feedback was one of the best on the grid. This was key to him becoming the season one champion. He was one of the quickest drivers to understand how to get the best out of the original Formula E car, which made him a formidable force in the closing stages of that season.
Both NIO and Dragon need a driver that can help develop the car over the course of a season. Now Piquet was at NIO as the team started to lose its way in terms of performance and it is probably unlikely that he would return to his former team.
It is believed that Tom Dillmann has a contract in place for season six and the only way there will be a space at the team for the season one champion is if Oliver Turvey, who was Piquet’s teammate at NIO, moves on from the team after spending four full seasons with the outfit. The NIO team’s situation is also complicated by its recent purchase by Lisheng Racing leading to a shake up of the team’s management.
But Dragon could be a stronger option for Piquet Jr. The American team have signed a rookie in Brendon Hartley for the 2019/2020 campaign, and the team seem to have a car that works at some tracks, but at others, it does not.
Piquet could be the answer to their problems, as his expertise could help Dragon move in the right direction and return to a team that was fighting at the front of the grid in season one and two.
However, at the age of 34, it’s questionable whether or not Piquet wants to come back to Formula E to try and build up a racewinning team, rather than immediately fighting for wins.
Essentially, he joined Jaguar as a project to try and push them towards a front running team, and it didn’t end well for him. Therefore, it may be a struggle to convince him to join a backmarker team in a bid to move them forward.
However, if we were the team owner of NIO and Dragon and we had a seat available we would be giving Piquet Jr. a ring to see if he would be interested in signing, even if it meant giving him the larger paycheque the would inaugural FE champion would demand.