NIO 333’s Ma Qinghua will sit out the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season ending races in Berlin next month due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The Chinese driver, along with NIO 333’s China-based team members, will miss the six races at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport after it was decided that the travel restrictions heading to Europe and on the return to China would affect team preparations.
The China-based team members will stay in contact with and assist their on-site colleagues remotely, while Ma will participate in race day live-streaming and fan events after they proved successful during the Race at Home Challenge.
NIO 333 say they will announce Ma’s replacement shortly.
“Unfortunately, I am not going to Berlin this year, having raced there during the 2015-2016 season,” said Ma in the team’s statement. “It is quite difficult to travel and race abroad at present, as this would expose us to more Covid-19 risks.
“The team and I had in depth discussions about this, and considering the current situation of the pandemic, this decision was made to ensure the best possible preparation for the team. I look forward to coming back and racing in the Season 7 World Championship.”
While CEO of the NIO 333 FE Team, Vincent Wang, added that “We have certainly experienced some ups and downs during the first season of the regrouped NIO 333 FE team.
“When the plan to resume the championship was announced, we were all very excited to return, the long pause of the season made us miss the battles on the track, especially with the team making significant progress since Marrakech.
“However, due to the number of restrictions, Ma and the Shanghai team members, will be unable to attend the race. It is quite unfortunate, but we will continue to assist remotely. Ma will also be present during the live event with our fans as well as providing support to the team on-site.
“The management team is currently selecting the replacement for Ma, and an announcement will be made imminently.”