With little over three weeks until the opening race of the Formula E season, China Racing have announced Nelson Piquet Jr and Ho-Pin Tung as the team’s drivers.
Piquet Jr, who joins several other former F1 drivers competing in the inaugural Formula E championship, is best known for his time with the Renault F1 team in 2008 and 2009, including the now infamous ‘crashgate’ scandal that occurred during the 2008 Singapore GP. Since leaving Formula 1, Piquet has competed in a variety of categories mainly in the United States, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck series. Piquet also competes in the Golbal Rallycross championship, where he currently leads the series.
Tung holds the distinction of being the first Chinese driver to test a Formula 1 car with the Williams team in 2003, a role he also completed with Renault in 2009. He has also competed in tge Asian Le Mans & Porsche Carrera Cup series, GP2, IndyCar and was a lead driver for A1GP Team China.
Both Piquet Jr and Tung completed the final Formula E official pre-season test on August 19 for China Racing ahead of official confirmation of their series drives. Piquet declared his enthusiasm for joining the Formula E series: “I have always enjoyed the challenge of testing myself in a variety of racing formats so I’m delighted to be able to drive in Formula E. To be a driver in the very first FIA Formula E championship is a great honour particularly with Team China Racing who are looking to establish themselves in the sport.”
Ho-Pin Tung shared a similar sentiment for joining China Racing ahead of what will be both his and the team’s ‘home race’ in Beijing on September 13: “It’s great to be one of the drivers with China Racing in Formula E, especially at the opening round in Beijing. I tested the Formula E car a few months ago and it’s really a challenge to get used to the electric racing car. I look forward to a fantastic start in Beijing.”
China Racing CEO Steven Lu was pleased to welcome both drivers to the team: “Nelson has proven time and again his ability to perform at the highest level across a range of different racing formats and this was a key factor in our decision to sign him to Team China Racing. In his tests at Donington Nelson was very quick and we believe the team has signed one of the most talented drivers on the grid. Ho-Pin has been our driver since the start of Team China, I trust he will be a great team-mate with Nelson in the championship, and I wish they could win in Beijing in front of thousands of local fans.”
In addition to confirming Piquet Jr and Tung as series drivers, China Racing have also announced that Spanish Corvette Racing factory driver and three-times Le Mans 24 hour class winner Antonio Garcia will fill the role of reserve driver for the team.
Only one Formula E race seat remains available ahead of the season, with Andretti Autosport yet to confirm who will drive the team’s second car alongside Franck Montagny. Former F1 driver Scott Speed and Andretti Indy Lights driver Matthew Brabham have both been linked to the position.
2014-5 FIA Formula E Championship Entry List:
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|Amlin Aguri||Katherine Legge||António Félix da Costa|
|Andretti Autosport||Franck Montagny||TBA|
|Audi Sport ABT||Daniel Abt||Lucas di Grassi|
|China Racing||Ho-Pin Tung||Nelson Piquet Jr|
|Dragon Racing||Mike Conway||Jérôme d’Ambrosio|
|e.dams Renault||Sébastien Buemi||Nicolas Prost|
|Mahindra Racing||Karun Chandhok||Bruno Senna|
|Trulli GP||Michela Cerutti||Jarno Trulli|
|Venturi Grand Prix||Nick Heidfeld||Stéphane Sarrazin|
|Virgin Racing||Jaime Alguersuari||Sam Bird|
Image via FIA Formula E Championship