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Nissan sign Nato and Fenestraz for Season 9

Nissan will field an all new driver line-up for the start of Formula E’s Gen 3 era.

Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz join Nissan for the 2022-23 season.

It comes as Sebastien Buemi says goodbye to the team after racing for the e.dams squad for eight years.

Both Nato and Fenestraz have relatively little experience in Formula E.

Nato made his debut racing with Venturi for the 2020-21 season. Despite finishing 18th in the championship, he took a victory in the final race of the season in Berlin.

He then sat out most of the 2021-22 season, but replaced an injured Sam Bird at Jaguar for the season finale in Seoul and took a best finish of P13.

“I’m very happy to be making my comeback as a full-time driver in Formula E with Nissan,” Nato said.

“The Gen 3 era will be a new chapter for the championship, and I’m excited to prepare for testing and driving the car. The hard work starts now – I have a lot to learn and areas to develop in with the team to be at my best for the first round of Season 9 in Mexico City.”

This year will be Fenestraz’s first season racing in Formula E.

He comes to Formula E with multiple junior single seater championships. In 2019, Fenestraz moved to Japan, winning the Japanese Formula 3 championship. In both 2020 and 2022, he ran duel Super GT and Super Formula championship campaigns and currently runs first and second in the championships respectively.

For the past two seasons he has also been Jaguar’s Formula E reserve driver. But his FE debut came with Dragon in the Season 8 finale, after an injury ruled Antonio Giovinazzi out of the final race of the season.

Fenestraz finished 16th in the race.

“It’s a dream come true,” Fenestraz said of his Nissan move. “It will be a big step forward in my career, to move up into a World Championship for the first time and to be competing at such a high level against some of the best drivers in the world. It’s going to be a different challenge for me as it will be my first season in an all-electric car.

“I’m excited to compete in this championship as street circuits are my favourite, with high risks and no room for errors. As a rookie in a new format, there is a lot of preparation to do and plenty to learn!

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment for a very long time, and I am very grateful to Nissan for the opportunity. I can’t wait to get started and I’ll do everything to perform as best as I can.”

As well as the new line-up, Season 9 also mark’s Nissan’s first full season as being full owners of the squad, having acquired the team from Gregory and Olivier Driot in April 2022.

It also marks Nissan’s first season as a powertrain supplier, as it will power the new McLaren Racing team

“This is a significant moment for the team as we commence commence the Gen3 era, and we are very happy to welcome both Norman and Sacha on board,” said team managing director Tommaso Volpe.

“Season 9 will be our first season competing as one team, following Nissan’s acquisition of e.dams earlier this year, and also the beginning of our partnership with McLaren Racing. This marks a new era for the Nissan Formula E Team, and we believe that a combination of experience and the opportunity to nurture new talent is the right balance for us right now. In Norman and Sacha, we have found two strong drivers to fulfil our vision.

“Norman has proven a very talented driver in Formula E and in other series, and he brings a wealth of experience and skills to the team. As for Sacha, we have monitored his progress and performance over the past few years and have been very impressed. We believe he has great potential and that this is the right time to bring him into the team. I am convinced that they will complement each other and the team very well. I can’t wait to see them both in action on track in our new Nissan Gen3 car.

“At the same time, I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Sebastien Buemi and Maximilian Guenther for all their hard work, commitment and dedication during the last season, which has been a challenging yet crucial one for us. Seb in particular has played a big role in the history of our team, after having been with e.dams for eight seasons, four of which with Nissan. We have grown and evolved with him over the years; his tremendous achievements, perseverance and enthusiasm will always be a part of who we are. To have had both Seb and Max as part of our team makes us very proud. We wish them every success in their new endeavours and remain open to future collaborations.”

Image courtesy of Nissan Formula E Team/Spacesuit Media

Bethonie Waring

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