SPA – Defending FIA Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. says that the series is still his priority despite recently dovetailing his commitments with a drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Piquet won the inaugural Formula E title at the London finale last June, but has been unable to defend his crown thanks to issues with the powertrain supplied by his NextEV TCR team.
The Brazilian confirmed ahead of the WEC season opener at Silverstone that he would be joining Rebellion Racing in the LMP1 Privateer class, racing alongside Formula E colleagues Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld.
Despite his struggles in Formula E, Piquet remains adamant that the series is his priority, with his WEC commitments simply being a good complement to it.
“It’s very easy going over here, you’re sharing a car with these other drivers. There’s no really big competition,” Piquet told NBC Sports.
“To be honest it’s much more of a relaxed weekend than anything else. You try to work together, try to get the car good. There’s a lot of teamwork. So it’s not stressful.
“Obviously you want to win out of the three cars, but it’s different to Formula E. You need to do well to keep your job. Over here, I’m doing this as a fill-in to help them out. They called me last minute, it’s not something I was aiming for.
“Formula E is my priority. I have a long-term contract over there, so that’s where you get really stressed and get pissed off when the car’s not good.”
Piquet is hopeful that NextEV will be able to resolve the issues with its powertrain for season three, which is due to be tested on-track for the first time before the Berlin ePrix in two weeks.
“Hopefully it’ll be better, I don’t think it can get any worse,” Piquet said.
“The team is working really hard to get their act together for next year. I’m positive that they’ll do a good job.
“Maybe because we fell back so much, I need to be a bit realistic too. Maybe from one year to another you’re not going to go from last to first, but at least you can have a competitive car to be running top five.
“It’s a different thing than getting to the grid every weekend and knowing you’re going to be running from 18th to 15th.”
Even in light of NextEV’s struggles, Piquet is set to remain with the team for next season, saying there is no consideration of moving away.
“No. I have a long-term contract with them, so at the moment, I’ll be with them,” Piquet said.