Formula E

Frustration at Nissan: Nato & Fenestraz explain Formula E crashes that led to cancellations in Sao Paulo

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

For Nissan, the first Sao Paulo E-Prix of Formula E ended unexpectedly early. Both Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz were involved in accidents in the early stages on Saturday that ended their races. Disappointed, both drivers look back on the situations and describe how it happened.

The race weekend in Brazil began extremely promising for the Nissan factory team, which after a difficult start to the season was recently able to connect with the extended top group of Formula E. Sacha Fenestraz was second fastest in the 1st free practice session on Friday, with Norman Nato coming in 3rd in the second session.

In qualifying, however, both let first feathers. Fenestraz was unable to repeat his strong qualifying pace of previous races and started only 15th. Nato failed by two hundredths of a second conceivably in the group stage, but still ended up in eighth place on the grid.

Nato: "Unfortunately, there was contact"

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His race, however, was not to last long. "With P8, I was on the dirty side of the grid, so didn't get a good start and was immediately involved in a close battle," Nato recalled. "As I turned into turn 3, the driver in front of me (Jake Hughes) had to brake hard to avoid contact and I couldn't get out of the way."

"I tried to overtake him, but it was too late," explained the Frenchman, who spectacularly soared over the rear wheel of the McLaren customer car. "Unfortunately there was a contact that ended my race."

"I felt good in the car all weekend, we were fast in practice and really close to getting into the duels," Nato concludes positively despite the disappointment. "It wasn't the day we expected, but we're making progress and will try to improve in Berlin and get good points after this short break." After all, Nato has already won once for Venturi in Tempelhof...

Fenestraz suffers damage to wishbone & radiator

For teammate Sacha Fenestraz, the Sao Paulo E-Prix lasted only slightly longer: on lap 7, the Franco-Argentinean, in 18th place by his own account, tried to avoid an incident in front of him. In the process, he touched the wall and then had to park his Nissan at the left rear edge of turn 6 with a broken wheel suspension. In the TV picture it was only to be seen that Fenestraz spun with the turn into the chicane without external influence.

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"I was just getting my bearings in the race when I hit the brakes in turns 4 and 5 to avoid an incident in front of me," Fenestraz recalled. "In the process, the rear locked up and I touched the wall. The contact damaged the wishbone and radiator, and our day was over." In our estimation, the situation looked like a driving error on Fenestraz's part.

"It was very unfortunate for the whole team that both myself and Norman retired early. It's a great pity because after our strong performances in the last few races we had hoped for more," said Fenestraz. "We know there will be ups and downs in this championship and that's what happened here. It was a difficult weekend, but there are still positives we can build on."

Volpe "frustrated with the result this weekend"

Tommaso Volpe, managing director and team principal of the Nissan factory team, can hardly hide his disappointment: "We are frustrated with the result this weekend, as we probably could have had a strong race. Our pace looked good in practice. Unfortunately, we missed the duels in qualifying in a really close session before incidents and the subsequent retirements of Norman and Sacha meant our day was over early."

"There have been a lot of positives this season, but this race also highlighted some of our weaknesses, so it's clear where we need to focus," Volpe said. "Our goal is still to be competitive and to be at the front. We will try to bounce back from this in the next month." The Berlin E-Prix will be held April 22 and 23 at the former Tempelhof Airport.

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