Replacement for Lotterer found: Norman Nato becomes new Andretti team-mate of Formula E champion Dennis
Andretti has found a successor for Andre Lotterer: As the US-based racing team announced on Tuesday afternoon, Norman Nato will drive alongside world champion Jake Dennis in Formula E in the future. After weeks of speculation about a possible engagement of Formula 2 driver Felipe Drugovich, the racing team decided in favour of the former Nissan driver.
Once he won an E-Prix for Venturi, and it was with Nissan that he made the majority of his 33 Formula E starts to date. From 2024, however, Norman Nato, who also spent a season as a reserve driver for Jaguar in 2022, will change colours once again: The Frenchman will contest the 2024 season for Andretti alongside Jake Dennis. He will succeed German Andre Lotterer, who shaped the first season as a Porsche customer for the US team.
"I am confident of the direction Andretti is heading as we gear up for Season 10," said team owner Michael Andretti. "Norman brings a lot of experience and skill. Norman brings great experience and skill with him, and he caught our attention with his progress throughout the (last) season. The addition of Norman to our roster reflects our shared mindsets for the pursuit of victory and passion for winning."
Locked in for Season 10 ?- Andretti Formula E (@AndrettiFE) September 12, 2023
We're excited too, Norman ? pic.twitter.com/xbs3PIR8ZL
Drugovich plans burst - Nato only 2nd choice?
Similar things could be said about Felipe Drugovich. The Brazilian had initially attracted Andretti's attention with two impressive rookie tests (for Maserati) and good performances in Formula 2. But because his negotiations with Alfa Romeo's Formula 1 team are still ongoing, the Formula E team decided against him, according to media reports. So Nato seems to have been only Andretti's "second choice".
But the pressure on the Frenchman is great at his new employer anyway. Just holding his own against Dennis, who had a clear grip on his teammate in 2023, is a big challenge. Added to that is the fact that he is no longer under contract with a factory team. Individually, Nato has to prove that his frequent team changes have now come to an end: He will hope that Andretti can become his "Formula E home".
Nato expected to take Andretti "to new heights"
The 31-year-old is certainly looking forward to his new duties: "I am thrilled to be a part of the Andretti Formula E family for Season 10," he says. "It's highly exciting to be given the opportunity to have a car capable of winning. I'm looking forward to working with the team and contributing to the team’s long history of success."
"We are embarking on an exciting journey," team principal Roger Griffiths added. "Norman's proven skillset and passion for racing align with our passion for victory. He is highly determined, and we are confident that his contribution will play a pivotal role in taking the team to new heights in the upcoming season."
According to 'The Race', Nato already contested a first private test with Andretti last week. Officially, however, his work will not begin until next month. This year, Formula E's pre-season testing is scheduled for 23-27 October. The cars will then be transported to Mexico City, where the new season begins on 13 January 2024.
Overview: Formula E transfers & rumours for the 2024 season
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|ABT Cupra||Nico Müller||tbd|
|Avalanche Andretti||Jake Dennis||Norman Nato|
|DS Penske||Jean-Eric Vergne||Stoffel Vandoorne|
|Envision Racing||Sebastien Buemi||Robin Frijns|
|Jaguar TCS Racing||Mitch Evans||Nick Cassidy|
|Mahindra Racing||Lucas di Grassi||tbd|
|Maserati MSG Racing||Edo Mortara||Max Günther|
|Neom McLaren||Jake Hughes||Sam Bird|
|Nio 333||Dan Ticktum||Sergio Sette Camara|
|Nissan||Sacha Fenestraz||Oliver Rowland|
|TAG Heuer Porsche||Pascal Wehrlein||Antonio Felix da Costa|
bold = officially confirmed