Sacha Fenestraz: “If you make one small mistake in qualifying it can be really costly”

Rookie Sacha Fenestraz claimed his first points of the season at the third round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, after making up four places to finish eighth at the Diriyah E-Prix.

It was a incredibly mixed weekend for the young Frenchman, who struggled in the opening race of the weekend at the Riyadh Street Circuit. Fenestraz finished seventeenth in the second round of the championship in Diriyah, after qualifying terribly. The second race in Diriyah (round three of the championship) went much better for the Nissan Formula E Team driver, who finished eighth after qualifying twelfth, highlighting to him the importance of qualifying well.

Fenestraz not only claimed his first points in Formula E, but the team’s first of the season, getting the Japanese manufacturer’s season properly underway.

Reflecting on the second race in particular, the French driver believes more would’ve been possible had he qualified better, but that he “should be happy with the progress” made in Saudi Arabia.

“I’m pleased with today’s result, scoring my first points for the team in Formula E. We could have done more in qualifying, but we should be happy with the progress we made and what we discovered over the weekend. We have good pace, especially in the races, but there’s still a lot to learn.

“The field is bunched so close together that if you make one small mistake in qualifying it can be really costly, but this weekend was a big improvement from Mexico. Hopefully we can continue this momentum in India and score even more points on a brand-new track there.”

“We need to focus on India and being better” – Norman Nato

On the other side of the Nissan garage, it was a disappointing weekend for Norman Nato, who failed to score points in either race. The French driver had shown some good pace during Free Practice but failed to put in a really competitive time in qualifying, something that hurt his weekend.

Nato finished the first race of the Diriyah double-header in twelfth as a result of starting sixteenth, whereas in the second race he finished fourteenth after qualifying nineteenth. Nato made up great ground in both races after demonstrating solid race pace, suggesting that qualifying is an area that Nissan need to work on ahead of the fourth round of the championship.

Nato believes “a lot of positives” can be taken from the weekend but that the team “need to understand the tyres better” to make the most out of qualifying, with that seemingly being their weak spot.

“It was an ok weekend, there’s a lot of positives for us to take and we know what we have to keep working hard for the races ahead. We need to understand the tyres better in qualifying so we can realize our potential, as the race pace has been competitive. It’s still early in the season, so we always knew we would have things to work on. The field is so tight, a tenth can mean a lot in qualifying.

“We clearly have strong pace, we moved forwards on both days and I think if we started a few positions higher, then we would’ve had a really good chance to finish in the top-10. I’m happy for Sacha and the team for the first points of the season, and now we need to focus on India and being better there.”

Credit: Nissan Formula E Team