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Formula E

Fenestraz exclusive: Nissan title dream, embracing his personality and similarity to Norris

Nissan's Sacha Fenestraz spoke exclusively to RacingNews365 about his commitment to Nissan and why he is so self-critical.

Fenestraz Tokyo
Interview
To news overview © Simon Galloway / Formula E

On the outside, Sacha Fenestraz is one of the most welcoming, bubbly, charismatic drivers you will ever come across not just in Formula E, but in world motorsport.

However, underneath his warm nature, is a driver who took the ultimate risk as a teenager and is now reaping the rewards with Nissan.

After losing his Renault backing in European F3 back in 2018, Fenestraz looked outside the box and decided to develop his motorsport career in Japan. He moved away from the traditional motorsport ladder of F3, F2 and then F1, and opted to build his own path.

That path, has well and truly been built, following four seasons competing in Super GT and Super Formula prior to receiving his Formula E debut by Dragon Penske in the Season 8 finale.

He was quickly snapped up by Nissan for Season 9 and remains a key part of the side's Formula E project, a project which will continue until at least 2030 and into the Gen4 era.

Nissan are the first manufacturer to take the risk and commit to Gen4, making themselves and Fenestraz in many ways the perfect pairing, as they decide their own destinies.

Title target

"I mean, firstly, the Gen4 announcement is great, it comes at the perfect time for the team, we have a lot of new people, since Gen2, a lot of movement inside the team, we came to a new base, we're based in Paris now," explained Fenestraz.

"There's big budgets going on to come here in Paris and have a new building etc. So it clearly shows the side of Nissan and kind of committing until 2030, it's six years of commitment, it's huge.

"And that can only help the team in terms of stability and trust that they're not going anywhere. And that's what we were missing at the moment. For the engineers, for the people inside the team, even for us as drivers.

"Knowing that they commit for so long, it can only give us confidence and stability inside the team. In my respect in terms of of staying in the team. Of course, I will love to. At the moment my contract still goes on with them.

"So we will see in the future, but definitely, if I can. I'll be extremely [honest], one of my dreams is to try to win a championship with Nissan. Not with another team at the moment. They're trusting in me for a few years, and I kind of respect a lot that.

"So for me, trying to achieve, to fight for a championship together would be nice, and that's definitely one of my targets before I go anywhere."

			© Simon Galloway / Formula E
	© Simon Galloway / Formula E

'No point of hiding' who he is

Fenestraz is a special talent who Nissan have an incredible amount of belief in, and it is clear to see why. In his rookie season last year, the French-born driver was a regular in the duels and was widely regarded as one of the fastest drivers in the paddock.

He claimed his first ever pole position in the all-electric series in the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix, and secured a front row start in Monaco under odd circumstances.

Season 10, unfortunately, has not started how he would have liked, with Fenestraz having only scored eight points across the opening five rounds. On the other side of the Nissan garage, the returning Oliver Rowland has claimed two pole positions and three podiums in a row.

One distinguishable feature about Fenestraz, particularly this season so far, is that he is arguably the most self-critical driver in Formula E. He does not shy aware from criticising himself in front of the media, which leads to the question as to why he does this to himself?

"Well, it's just the way I am, there is no point of hiding it, it's the reality," said Fenestraz. "I'm racing in a world championship with the best drivers in the world, with an amazing manufacturer, with the one of the biggest manufacturers in the world, trusting in me and Oliver.

"The kind of the small mistakes like I did in qualifying in Tokyo, shouldn't happen, but also at the same time, I also remember and kind of realise that I'm relatively new in the championship, it's still a brand new championship for me.

"And we're racing in street circuits, this small mistake can easily happen. So yeah, I am very self-critical, but that's the way I can only improve and move forward quicker, in my opinion."

			© Sam Bloxham / Formula E
	© Sam Bloxham / Formula E

Similarity to Norris

Interestingly, Fenestraz's former room-mate is, of course, McLaren F1's Lando Norris, who is regarded as the most self-critical driver in F1. Norris has been incredibly self-critical about his performances particularly after qualifying sessions.

Given that Norris is the same age as Fenestraz, it raises an interesting question: is being so self-critical just a natural part of their generation?

"That's a good question," stated the Nissan driver. "I mean, it could be, if I think maybe kind of a more experienced older driver that has been through a lot more things than myself in my career, if he does something bad, it's more difficult to accept that if it was his own mistake, because of the amount of experience he has in the championship.

"So maybe he wouldn't accept it that much. As for me and maybe younger drivers, Lando, maybe we're just more realistic, we don't have a lot of experience in the racing world still, compared to other drivers.

"And when we do a mistake, we're just fully honest about it, it's like, well, this shouldn't happen. But also in a way, you only learn by doing mistakes. So, it's kind of taking the reality."

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