Q&A with Nelson Piquet Jr.

Q&A with Nelson Piquet Jr. – Formula E driver

Piquet born in Germany in 1985, he moved and grown up in Brazil. Nelson started his career in karting in 1993 and he is currently driving in Formula E for NextEV TCR.

TPCO: Describe Oliver Turvey in 3 words

NP: Great team mate!!!

TPCO: What sets Formula E aside from all the other disciplines you’ve raced for?

NP: I’ve had a long career in racing (20 years!) and I’ve competed in a lot of different championships. I raced in F1 from 2007 to 2009 and over the past five years have done everything from NASCAR to sportscars and rallycross. When I heard about Formula E I thought it was a really interesting concept and the technology involved is the future. I knew I wanted to be involved and it’s been a great first season learning more about electric technology.
TPCO: When you made your first steps in Motorsport, had you ever dreamed that you could finish on the podium in a Formula 1 race? How did you feel when you finished second at the German GP in 2008?

NP: Getting the podium in Hockenheim was a great moment; that was in my debut season. In fact, I had the most successful debut season of any Brazilian in Formula One. Then a very hard fought fourth place in Japan later that year was a very good moment.

TPCO: How do you prepare yourself before a race?

NP: I don’t have any kind of superstition or anything special, I just like to be calm and maybe listen to some music.

TPCO: If you could dine with three current/past motorsport drivers who of these would it be and where would the dinner take place?

NP: That’s difficult! I would probably pick my father, James Hunt and maybe Niki Lauda – they would all have some good stories to tell! We could go to a great sushi restaurant.
TPCO :How did you take the decision to go from Formula 1 to NASCAR and then to Formula E? And what difficulties did you face during this journey?

NP: I put all my effort into everything that I do. I love racing and I’ve always loved being diverse in my racing career. Formula One was a part of my life for a few years but I have done a lot since then and I’m loving what I’m doing.

TPCO: In your biography, there are listed lots of victories and podiums finish, which one was the most special for you?

NP: I have had some career highlights that I am very proud of. In Formula 1, highlights were my first podium in Hockenheim 2008, my fourth place finish in Japan 2008 and my sixth in Hungary the same year. Before I reached F1 I had some amazing career moments that I will always remember. I won every championship I raced in go-karts. I was South American F3 champion in 2002, British F3 champion in 2004. I set the record in GP2 for the first driver to have a perfect weekend, scoring the maximum points available, in Hungary 2006. In NASCAR, the highlight has to be the win at Road America in the Nationwide Series last year in only my third NNS start. That was an amazing moment. And then of course the championship win in Formula E was so special. I can’t pick a favourite championship!

TPCO: In 2015, you won the World Title in Formula E, how special was that for you? Do you believe that you can repeat this success?

NP: Becoming World Champion of FIA Formula E is one of my best successes, I think even my best success. My aim is definitely to win another title in the future.

TPCO: Formula E is still something new for most of the motorsport fans, if you could change something in the series what would that be?

NP: What Formula E have done to put together this championship is amazing. If you look at the final in London alone, there were 60,000 people there over the weekend, completely packed with people. Also the achievement of getting races in the city centres of places like Paris and Berlin, and Hong Kong where we are going next season. I can’t imagine what’s it’s going to look like in a few years time. I’m scared of how big this is going to get! We just need to keep moving in the right direction.

TPCO: How difficult is it to drive a NASCAR car, and what are the main differences from the other motorsport series you have raced so far?

NP: When I first starting driving NASCAR it was a big learning curve for me as it was a very different way of driving than I was used to. I had to learn an entirely new discipline. But over the past six years my career has become so diverse with me racing in open wheel, NASCAR, rallycross and sportscars that I don’t have any problem jumping from one car to another. Back in August last year there was a crazy week where I tested the Formula E car on the Monday and Tuesday, tested an IndyCar on Thursday and raced in a Global Rallycross car on Friday and Saturday! And I won the race!

TPCO: Your favourite place for vacations?

NP: Well I lived in Miami for a while but now I live back in Europe. So maybe I would say Miami! 

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