Piquet refusing to feel pressure for Formula E title decider


LONDON – NEXTEV TCR driver Nelson Piquet Jr is refusing to let the pressure of this weekend’s FIA Formula E title decider get to him, and is instead treating it like any other race during the season.

Piquet enters the final double-header round of the inaugural Formula E season in London with a 17-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship ahead of compatriot Lucas di Grassi.

However, he is refusing to let the pressure of a championship decider get to him, believing that the team should simply continue its good form from the season so far.

“I just have to take this weekend as if it’s just one more weekend,” Piquet said. “We cannot let it get into our heads that it’s the last race and that’s going to decide everything.

“We’ve worked so hard to get where we are, and we’re not going to let one race ruin it. We just have to take it as a normal race. Anything can happen, but we have to put in our minds that it’s one more race.

“We’re all here trying to do the same job that we’ve been doing the last nine weekends, and just take it as easy as possible. I know it’s very hard, everybody’s under pressure, mechanics, teams, engineers, all of us – it’s a normal feeling.

“We’ve done this nine times, and we’ve done fairly good. So I think we have more experience than we did last weekend, and this weekend should be an even smaller chance to give into silly mistakes.”

When asked my MotorSportsTalk what winning the title would mean to him, Piquet said that it would be an important victory given the hard knocks that he has taken over the past few years in racing.

“For me it would be pretty important,” Piquet said. “I think for all of us it would be pretty important. We’ve dedicated our whole lives to racing, and winning an FIA championship like this that’s been around the world and been the first Formula E championship ever would be pretty important.

“Last time I won a championship was here in England at Brands Hatch in 2004. So since then, I’ve taken a few hard routes, particularly when I went to America racing NASCAR. I’ve been through a lot of series where I’ve taken a very, very hard step.

“I think this is, since GP2, one of the first championships I’ve been in where we all have equal ground. I’ve worked my whole career to win championships and races, and this would mean a lot to me.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor BitNile.com: “It is great for BitNile.com to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”