Formula E

Interview with Nissan driver Sacha Fenestraz (2/2): "Formula E very close to F1 in terms of professionalism"

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Sacha Fenestraz impressed many during his first full Formula E season with Nissan. In an exclusive XXL interview with e-Formula.news, he provides insights into his inner life. After in the first part, which mainly focussed on sporting aspects, this time the Franco-Argentinian talks about the future of motorsport, his career path and a possible reunion with Lando Norris.

Sacha, at the tender age of 24, you can already look back on several successful seasons: 2017 champion in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, 2019 champion in Japanese Formula 3, and last year's runner-up title in Super Formula. What has been your career highlight to date?

My career highlight so far was last year in Super Formula, when I almost won the title. Unfortunately, I had a serious accident in Fuji, which took me out of title contention. I also had a mechanical failure in the middle of the season. Nevertheless, it was one of my best seasons so far.

Your year in Formula E wasn't bad either.

I've always dreamed of racing in a world championship and now I'm in Formula E. Getting this opportunity with a manufacturer like Nissan makes me extremely happy. Nevertheless, next year I want to fight for the top positions every weekend even more consistently.

You have already driven many different racing cars. How does the speed of the new Gen3 car compare with combustion cars?

It's difficult to compare, because in Formula E we mainly race on street circuits. And the aim of this series is different: it's more about sustainability and electrification. We have a different mindset here. If you're talking about pure speed, a Super Formula or F1 car would obviously be much faster, but here it's about efficiency.

Is that an argument in favour of Formula E?

We recover 40 per cent of energy through recuperation during the race! That's like starting Formula 1 with 60 per cent fuel and having to finish the race with it. Energy management is one aspect that I find attractive about Formula E.

Despite this, you probably wouldn't turn down a Formula 1 offer?

Of course, the dream of Formula 1 is still present and always will be. And I'm still relatively young, so who knows what the future holds. But I'm very happy here at the moment. To have the chance to become world champion in Formula E one day is incredible.

Formula E concludes its first decade next season. Is it now the number 2 in global open wheel racing behind F1?

Yes, I think so. At least from the series I know. It depends on which aspect we're talking about. When it comes to pure speed, there are obviously faster series. But in terms of the quality of the drivers, it's definitely number two. Many former Formula 1 drivers, such as Felipe Massa, have tried Formula E and it's never been easy for them. That shows the level and difficulty of this series.

Are there any other areas in which Formula E is outstanding?

In terms of professionalism, Formula E is definitely the closest to Formula 1. Super Formula, Super GT, Formula 2 - they are all at a similar level. I've never raced in IndyCar, so I can't say much about that. But Formula E is very close to F1.

You lived in a shared flat with McLaren F1 star Lando Norris back in England. Will you see him on the track again one day?

I definitely hope so. The only season we were able to battle each other on track was in Formula Renault. Back then, we also became friends and lived in the same flat in the UK. If I got a chance in Formula 1, I would obviously love to take it. Maybe he'll get into Formula E at some point, but at the moment at least I don't think so.

Your generation grew up with combustion engine motorsport - F1 is the primary goal of almost all of today's drivers. At some point, however, electric is likely to be the new normal. Will this also change the career goals of the kids of tomorrow?

I think so. The next generation will grow up with electric cars. Today's five-year-olds will have completely different technology at their disposal in 20 years' time. Racing cars will have a lot more energy and bigger batteries, maybe there will even be flying cars. I think and hope that the kids of today will want to drive in a series like Formula E at some point, because it is the future.

What does the racing car of tomorrow look like to you?

If I could design a car, I would give it more aerodynamics and more grip, for example through the tyres. We don't currently have slicks. They would make the car considerably faster. The powertrain itself could be increased to 500 kW (currently 350 kW). All-wheel drive could be introduced in season 11, as well as new tyres. Formula E is simply evolving every year.

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