British-born Kiwi-raised Tom Blomqvist admits he never planned to return to Formula E after his bitter spell with Andretti back in 2017.
He was firstly replaced at the eleventh-hour by Kamui Kobayashi at what would have been his series debut in Hong Kong owing to a sponsorship clash.
Then, despite a promising first race in Marrakesh, his results quickly whittled away, and the Blomqvist name eventually faded off the Formula E radar after being replaced by the team before the end of the season.
However, next year Blomqvist makes his return to the all-electric formula. This time he joins the struggling NIO 333 outfit.
But when asked what triggered his comeback to the series, Blomqvist quickly revealed that after being left embittered by Andretti, returning to Formula E was never his first intention.
“I’m going to be totally honest, it kind of ended quite badly [at Andretti] and I had a sour taste in my mouth, let’s say,” he said in an interview with The-Race.
“There was a bit of something where I didn’t feel welcome from the start, maybe that’s just me, but I didn’t even do the first race which was strange and not ideal.
“I just didn’t seem to fit. I then had no desire to even really try Formula E again. It was kind of nice to get away from it for a while.”
Following his Andretti exit, Blomqvist maintained his ties with BMW and continued to race for factory-backed teams in different sports car championships.
Then, an out of the blue opportunity to race alongside fellow Kiwi Mitch Evans at the Jaguar Formula E outfit in the final two races at Berlin last season emerged.
While his results suggest it was a difficult return for Blomqvist – he scored a 12th and 17th – he says his brief time spent with Jaguar re-ignited his spark to make a fully fledged comeback to the series.
“It really gave me a stronger feeling again for Formula E in the sense that I could get a strong lap together and could work positively with a team here again,” he said.
“This whole thing here now, with NIO333, kind of stems from Berlin.
“To be honest, I have a nice feeling in the team. Oliver [Turvey] is a great guy, and there are a strong engineering focus and a kind of sense that there is a re-birth in a way.
“It’s going to be tough, I’m under no illusions about that. The field is unbelievable out there and we will have a battle but the good things we are all up for it and I am really positive heading in to the season.”
Blomqvist and NIO’s leg-up for 2021 is the team have opted to homologate a new power train for the start of the new season, which is scheduled to begin with the Santiago E-Prix in January.
NIO have also witnessed a significant restructure of its team management following a mutual parting of ways with engineering partner QEV Technologies.
Blomqvist is just one of three drivers contracted to the 2021 grid with strong ties back to New Zealand. Kiwi-born Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy will also be on the starting grid at the opening E-Prix for Jaguar and Envision Virgin.