It was an unfortunate end to Sacha Fenestraz‘s full debut in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the French driver having fallen out of the points late on at the Mexico City E-Prix, resulting in a disappointing start to Gen3 for the Nissan Formula E Team.
The rookie driver had looked very promising at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with the Frenchman having incredibly managed to make it into the qualifying duels, where he was then eliminated at the Quarter-Final stage. It was nevertheless an excellent effort by the 2022 Super Formula runner-up, who started the first race of the season in eighth.
Fenestraz performed just as well in the race and looked set for a top-ten finish on his full debut, with the young driver having climbed as high as sixth at one-point during the opening race of the 2022/23 season. It was late heartbreak for Fenestraz and Nissan, though, as a late issue with his energy management system saw the French driver tumble to fifteenth.
Fenestraz admits that the race was a “bit frustrating”, but that ultimately it was still a massively “positive weekend”, especially given the fact he made the duels on his full debut.
“I was really happy to make it through to the Duels in qualifying, the competition is really tough so we did a great job and almost made it into the semi-final. The race was a bit frustrating, as we definitely had the potential to score points.
“Towards the end, we had an issue with the energy management. We’ll look to find out what happened and correct it for the next race, but despite not scoring points it was a positive weekend, we made a big step between FP2 and qualifying and we know the areas we need to improve on.”
“We’ll put this one behind us” – Norman Nato
On the other side of the Nissan garage, it was a miserable end to the opening race of the year for the returning Norman Nato. Despite having looked good at times in Mexico City, Nato struggled in qualifying and ultimately retired from the race at the end of the opening lap.
Nato was hit hard by Robin Frijns from behind, damaging the rear of his car. It clearly wasn’t the return to Formula E that Nato was expecting, with his early retirement in particular having been “frustrating”.
“It wasn’t the race we expected or hoped for. In FP2 we were feeling positive, the pace was good but we didn’t quite get the set-up right for qualifying, which cost us a bit of time. In the race we were hit on Lap 1 and had to retire with damage. It’s frustrating because we need all the track time possible to learn about the new car, but we still leave Mexico with more data and more understanding on what we need to do to improve. We’ll put this one behind us and turn our attention to preparing for Diriyah in two weeks’ time.”