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Why Ticktum is relishing his fresh start in Formula E

Not everyone was convinced Dan Ticktum would make a smooth transition to Formula E with NIO 333. But the man himself is enjoying the change and heads into this weekend's Jakarta round eyeing more progress

Dan Ticktum, NIO 333

This season I made the move into Formula E and, I have to say, I've enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. There's no shying away, I'm a petrolhead. But I've really been surprised with Formula E.

Lots of people obviously ask why Formula 1 hasn't happened. It's a combination of myself, bad timing, bad luck. At the end of the day, there were two teams that wanted to put me in F1, but I didn't have the superlicence. So, I was just sort of lingering on the side, then I open my mouth and say things and then they just think 'we can't use him for anything'.

The positives I can take from that is I was trusted by two F1 teams and, if I had the superlicence points, I'm very confident that with either one of them, I probably would have got a seat for at least a year. Who knows if it would have lasted, but I do think I would have got there. Maybe I still can. Who knows?

'What's the best thing for your career?' is the next question. I think Formula E is an incredible place to go. It was IndyCar or Formula E and I thought Formula E was the right thing for this season. I approached a couple of teams and I think that got around and then a couple of teams approached me as well, because I don't think a lot of teams thought I was interested. We had negotiations with a couple of teams, and we managed to land a drive.

Formula E became an option quite late on, mid-October, maybe even early November. I was thinking, 'What am I going to do? Am I going to go down the LMP2 route? Should I go across to IndyCar? Will I stay in Europe, try Formula 2 again and maybe find a sponsor?' I'd sort of done my time in F2: if I was going to do F2 again, I'd probably have to go to Prema, and that wasn't an option.

I want to stay relevant in Europe just in case anything does come up in F1, such as test drives. At least I'm here and ready to go. In simple terms, I believe in the people I'm working with at NIO 333 and the only way is up. They have struggled the last couple of years. The other teams I was looking at were in a similar position, so it's just who's giving you the best contractual things really. I'm very glad with where I've ended up, to be honest. I feel happy.

Ticktum says he's enjoying Formula E with NIO 333 more than he expected to

Ticktum says he's enjoying Formula E with NIO 333 more than he expected to

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

There's still a lot of learning going on at the team. We've got a couple of new people and they're bringing some stuff to the table. It's about implementing their ideas versus some others and it's a work in progress. What is positive is our one-lap pace can be quite good. So, we just need to make sure we can dial the car in as best as we can, for different tracks.

If everything goes well, we do have enough pace to get into the qualifying duels, and then you never know what happens if you start in the top 10. You're in the mix of the slipstream with all the pack, so you use less energy.

If we can keep going the way we're going, if we can qualify well in one or two races and see how we end up after that, I'd be very happy. I think we've definitely got the potential in Formula E to do that

The season has lived up to my expectations. There is definitely progress. I think our one-lap pace has actually been better than I was expecting, to be honest. That said, our last race weekend, in Berlin, was pretty disastrous. Unfortunately, there's no way around it. It was one of the first times I felt like I actually struggled to get to grips with the circuit, which is quite rare – I normally get used to things pretty quickly.

On the Sunday, we were very unlucky in qualifying, I had a problem with my brakes and I was only a couple of tenths off being sixth in my group. So that was a bit of a shame. I felt I had a bit of potential on Sunday. Because I was at the back for both races, we tried the save energy strategy, which didn't work because there weren't any safety cars. Waiting for safety cars and saving energy is our best shot at getting points. We aren't going to start at the back and come through the field and beat people on pace alone.

I'm back on the British Racing Drivers' Club SuperStars programme this year as well. Through COVID we couldn't do much, but they've got some exciting things planned this year. It's the highest programme a driver can get on within the BRDC, so to be able to represent it is an honour. There's a great bunch of drivers on it this year and I'm proud to have the sticker on my car.

If we can keep going the way we're going, if we can qualify well in one or two races and see how we end up after that, I'd be very happy. I think we've definitely got the potential in Formula E to do that – if we get things right.

Ticktum has joined NIO 333 at a time when the squad is building towards Gen3, so the focus is on long-term improvements

Ticktum has joined NIO 333 at a time when the squad is building towards Gen3, so the focus is on long-term improvements

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

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