The NEXTEV technology company is set to become the dominant owner of the Formula E team it is involved in, Motorsport.com has learned.
NEXTEV, a relatively new start-up company which is headed by former Ford CEO Martin Leach, first bought into the original Team China Racing (TCR) team midway through the first season of the championship.
Since then, the team has been re-branded and renamed to NEXTEV TCR - but TCR, through owners Steven Lu and Yu Liu, have maintained an interest in the entity and are running the team in conjunction with Campos Racing.
"Team China Racing, as of today, are still in charge of the team, but we [NEXTEV] are going to take a more dominant role in the future, but that is not completely finalised yet," Leach told Motorsport.com.
"It is agreed, but just not finalised at the moment."
Team determined to keep Piquet
NEXTEV claimed the season-one title after a dramatic finale at Battersea Park which saw Nelson Piquet Jr. become the inaugural champion after a stellar second half of the season netted wins at Long Beach and Moscow.
However, Piquet was courted by several teams in the off-season, and Leach is aware that with a less competitive season two package, the Brazilian will be a highly prized asset for NEXTEV's competitors.
"We have a contract [with Piquet]," said Leach. "At the moment I really like our driver pairing. Nelson and Oliver [Turvey] are fabulous assets for the team and we want to keep them."
Season-three powertrain completed
NEXTEV has completed its season-three powertrain and is about to start working on the season four technical concepts in its attempt to return to the sharp-end of the Formula E grid.
The NEXTEV team uses the Rational Motion company, which is based out of Toyota Motorsport's premises in Cologne and is run by former Toyota technicians Robert Marusic and Benoit Vareille.
As one of NEXTEV TCR's technical partners, it has been hard at work with new concepts for the third season of the all-electric championship.
"The first thing we had to do was to identify what we expected and what we were targeting in terms of performance gains," Leach told Motorsport.com.
"We looked at what was happening in season one and we looked at the various data points we could then master for season two, and we took a view on what the cumulative performance uplift needed to be in order to be a frontrunner in season three.
"We have now taken those parameters and cascaded them down in to various systems targets for the season three powertrain," continued Leach.
"So we are looking for a sizable performance gain in season three."