The Formula E silly season is starting to swing, with two Brazilian’s Nelson Piquet and Bruno Senna already weighing up their options despite enjoying a recent upturn in fortunes with their respective teams Mahindra and NEXTEV TCR.
“The reason that I stayed was that they were the only team that believed in me to win the championship” Piquet told eRacing. “The other ones I had a hard time trying to negotiate a deal. That’s the reason I stayed no matter what. I didn’t know we were going to be so far behind. If I knew it was going to be this much of a headache I probably would have… Well even for next year we don’t know who’s going to be the best. We know the two top teams will be close to the top, but you never know. Maybe someone with some other technology will come up suddenly, but it’s impossible to find that out.”
While Nextev have made a firm commitment, it also means the lean and mean operation at Campos Racing will undergo some changes next season. So while the team will benefit from a strong technical base, on track activities could suffer a blow – a situation that hasn’t work efficiently in the past for Formula One operations like Toyota and Honda.
“Well the title sponsor bought the team” explains Nelson. “After coming in a sponsor at Long Beach last year, they wanted more control because they didn’t like the way things were being managed.”
In some respects that helps as NEXTEV already have R&D to spread online until next season, but synthesizing that information could prove difficult starting with a new group.
“Yeah it’s good” admits Piquet. “But we’re going to be starting a brand new team. A lot of the guys that the Chinese had hired will go. It’s like Andretti running IndyCar and Rallycross with private entries. NEXTEV hired these guys, but now they’ve bought the team, they’re going to want to run everything themselves.”
“It means we’ll lose some of the best guys to maybe Mahindra and NEXTEV will have to re-hire a bunch of new guys who’ll either be based in China, England or Germany. Long story short, we’re starting up a team from zero again. Not from a technology side but from a labour side which can make a difference given I have a very good relationship with my engineer.”
Intriguingly, despite Piquet’s fears that NEXTEV’s talent pool will be lost to Mahindra, Bruno Senna appears to already be reviewing his options in regards to Season Three; telling Formula E Zone that: “nothing has been finalised” and was “evaluating all the options and hopefully, we will find a good deal.”