SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Nissan Formula E Team had a tough race at the maiden São Paulo E-Prix, despite showing strong pace in the two Free Practice sessions, with both Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz retiring from the event.
The pair initially proved their speed on Friday and Saturday morning at Round 6 of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Fenestraz went second quickest in FP1 and Nato was third in FP2 as the team looked to build on their recent positive outings in Hyderabad and Cape Town.
Frenchman Nato came within two-hundredths of a second of making it through to the Duels in qualifying, with Franco-Argentine Fenestraz less than a tenth further back.
In a tight scrap at the start of the race, Nato was involved in an incident, damaging the front of his car and forcing him into retirement. A few laps later, Fenestraz also had to stop on track after touching the wall while looking to avoid an incident ahead.
Formula E returns next month with the first European event of the season, as the series heads to Berlin for Rounds 7 and 8 of Season 9 on 22-23 April.
Tommaso Volpe, managing director and team principal, Nissan Formula E Team: "We're frustrated with the result this weekend as we believed we could have had a strong race. Our pace looked good in practice, unfortunately we missed out on the Duels in qualifying in a really tight session, before the incidents and subsequent retirements for both Norman and Sacha meant our day finished early. Now we have to analyze the work we've done over the last six races to prepare for the double header in Berlin. There's been a lot of positives this season, but this race showed some of our weaknesses, so it's clear where we have to focus. Our target is still to be competitive and challenge at the front, and we'll look to bounce back next month."
Norman Nato: "I was feeling good in the car all weekend, we were quick during practice and came really close to making it through to the Duels. Lining up in P8, I was on the dirty side of the grid, so didn't make a great start and was immediately involved in a really tight battle. Heading into Turn 3, the driver ahead of me had to stop sharply to avoid contact and I had nowhere to go. I tried to go round him but it was too late and unfortunately we made contact that ended my race. It wasn't the day we expected, but we're making progress and we'll look to do better in Berlin and score good points after this short break."
Sacha Fenestraz: "It was an unfortunate event for the whole team with both me and Norman out early. It's a big shame because we were expecting better following our strong performances in recent rounds. We know there will be ups and downs in this championship and that's exactly what happened here. I was just settling into the race when I hit the brakes to avoid an incident in front of me at Turn 4 and 5, locking up the rear and touching the wall. The contact caused damage to the wishbone and radiator and ended our day. A difficult weekend but there are still positives we can build on and we'll aim to come back stronger."
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About Nissan in Formula E
Nissan made its all-electric racing debut in Season 5 (2018/19) of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, becoming the first and only Japanese manufacturer to enter the series.
In Season 7 (2020/21), Nissan announced its long-term involvement in Formula E and its commitment to the Gen3 era, which will run from Season 9 (2022/23) through to the end of Season 12 (2025/26) of the all-electric racing series.
In April 2022, Nissan acquired the e.dams race team, with the Japanese automaker taking full ownership of its involvement in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
In June 2022, Nissan announced it would supply its Nissan EV powertrain technology to McLaren Racing for the entirety of the Formula E Gen3 era.
For Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the Nissan Formula E drivers will be Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz.
Nissan races in Formula E to bring the excitement and fun of zero-emission electric vehicles to a global audience. As part of its goal to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050, Nissan intends to electrify every all-new vehicle offering by the early 2030s in key markets. The Japanese automaker aims to bring its expertise in transferring knowledge and technology between the racetrack and road for better electric vehicles for customers.
About Formula E
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship became the first global sport to be certified with a net zero carbon footprint from inception back in 2020, having invested in certified climate-protecting projects in all race markets to offset emissions from every season of electric racing.
All cars in the championship are powered by electricity, with the series acting as a competitive platform to test and develop the latest in electric technology.
The World's greatest manufacturers race against each other on street circuits and Formula E promotes the adoption of sustainable mobility in city centres in a bid to combat air pollution and lessen the effects of climate change.
Maria De Juana
Head of Communications, Formula E, Nissan Motor Co.
Phone: +33-6 17 36 37 61