The Anglo-Chinese squad has shown impressive one-lap pace with its Gen3 package, with Ticktum making it into the qualifying duels twice in the opening three races of the 2022-23 season.

The team has struggled to remain that those heights during the races, as its powertrain efficiency has been lacking compared to its rivals, and thus Ticktum and new team-mate Sergio Sette Camara have often gone backwards over longer distances.

Ticktum managed to break the team's points duck for the season with 10th in the second Diriyah race, but says that his race on Friday was more representative of what to expect from the team while it chases improvement on the efficiency front.

"Qualifying was good. I think everyone here at the track is doing the best they can do with what we have. I was a bit worried, or sceptical of our race pace," Ticktum told Autosport.

"Mexico wasn't really enough proof for us, but I think that [the Friday] race is unfortunately, and I don't want to be overly negative, that'll be sort of what to expect in the races.

"We'll do our best to improve, but we just haven't got the efficiency at the moment. But like I said, the engineers, everyone here put the car in a great place for quali. It felt really, really good - systems wise, they're doing a great job as well.

"I think that's our main focus, it's going to be to prove ourselves in quali this season, and do as much as we can with what we have in the races here.

"I would say kind of that going be that way for the season, unfortunately. But I'm not being defeatist in any way; I have every faith in the team that, you know, we will improve. But it's going to be tough - there's no denying that."

Dan Ticktum, NIO 333

Photo by: Andreas Beil

NIO 333 team principal Alex Hui confirmed that the team was struggling with a deficit in efficiency and, although he feels his team can compete with the best over a single lap, longer runs are comparatively more difficult.

He said that this was a legacy of the team's powertrain design choices 18 months ago, and that NIO 333 would opt for a different route if it had its time again - although this cannot be done immediately as the hardware is homologated for two seasons.

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Hui believes that it is also a matter of cost, as the team was unable to trial multiple powertrain options and move forward with the best solution unlike the other, bigger-budget manufacturers.

"We suspect we had an efficiency deficit before the pre-season; obviously in Mexico with the penalty, we didn't have the full read," Hui explained to Autosport.

"I think [on Friday's race] we have a good read that we've definitely got a deficit in efficiency. Porsche is outstanding for efficiency and you can see in the last two races they're really strong on race pace.

"We're probably able to compete with them in one lap, but in the long runs it's really difficult.

"It's basically down to how it's built - 18 months earlier, when we made that decision for the powertrain, I think we have not made the best decisions. 1

"8 months later, the understanding in the team in every area has been improved. So if we redid the powertrain, we know that how can be better."

"If you are a big team, you've basically got a premium to able to do two to three different powertrain concepts, and maybe even you find out in the first test on the dyno that it is not as good.

"You can basically switch to another concept very quickly if you've got the resource, which we are lacking a little bit."

2023-02-02T11:27:23Z dg43tfdfdgfd