Nissan have signed rookie Sacha Fenestraz and given Norman Nato a return to Formula E for their first season as a full works team, after taking full ownership of the e.dams team ahead of the Gen3 era.
The Japanese powerhouse has partnered the French outfit since Season 5 but announced in 2021 they were committing to a long-term future in Formula E that included taking full control of the team.
That means Nato returns to the sport after a 2022 season without a full-time drive, and 23-year-old Frenchman Fenestraz will join the team following four years competing in Japan.
”It’s a dream come true,” Fenestaz said. “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.”
The pair replace Max Guenther and Sebastian Buemi, who’ve signed with Maserati and Envision Racing respectively.
Nato made his Formula E debut in 2021, partnering Eduardo Mortara at ROKiT Venturi Racing.
He finished the year a race winner as he took victory in the final round in Berlin, but overall it was a disappointing campaign for the Frenchman.
While Mortata was in the title fight all the way to the end, Nato only scored on four occasions and took six rounds to record his first top-ten finish.
He struggled in qualifying and recorded his best two results in the last two weekends of the season, and had to sit 2022 out apart from a cameo in the final weekend in Seoul.
“I’m very happy to be making my comeback as a full-time driver in Formula E with Nissan,” Nato said.
“The Gen3 era will be a new chapter for the championship, and I’m excited to prepare for testing and drive 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.”
Who is Sacha Fenestraz?
Seven years younger than Nato, who’s spent most of his career racing in Europe, Fenestraz has taken the road less travelled on his way to a full-time Formula E drive.
The 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup champion ahead of Robert Shwartzman and Dan Ticktum, he followed that up with a solid FIA F3 debut the following year, finishing 11th and taking a lights-to-flag victory in just his second race.
But he then headed to Japan for 2019, where he won the national F3 championship and made his Nissan debut in Super GT300.
Four successful years later, he’s been Toyota-affiliated since 2020 and managed second place in 2022 Super Formula.
However, following his Formula E debut in the final race of the season, he’s now rekindled his partnership with Nissan for a full-time 2023 drive.
Fenestraz added: “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 this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started and I’ll do everything to perform as best as I can.”