Nato "not frustrated" to lose Venturi FE seat despite rookie win

Norman Nato says he is “not frustrated” to have been dropped by Venturi in favour of Lucas di Grassi after a single season, but feels he did enough to extend his stay in Formula E.

Nato "not frustrated" to lose Venturi FE seat despite rookie win

A two-time race winner in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Rebellion, Nato made his Formula E debut in 2021 as a replacement for Felipe Massa, teaming up with series regular Edoardo Mortara at Mercedes customer Venturi.

The French driver finished on the podium in only his fourth race appearance in Rome, only to be disqualified soon after for exceeding his energy allocation. Another potential rostrum result went begging in Valencia when he was handed a time penalty for nudging Alex Lynn into a spin, dropping to fifth in the final classification.

But the 29-year-old finally made amends for that in the season finale in Valencia, rising from sixth on the grid to take a stunning first victory in Formula E. 

He ended the season 18th in the standings on 54 points, helping Venturi to beat the likes of Porsche, Mahindra and Nissan to seventh in the teams’ table.

But Nato says he has no qualms with Venturi’s decision to replace him with di Grassi as he sees his long-term future in endurance racing and not Formula E.

“Venturi were looking for something different [and] we didn't manage to find a compromise,” Nato told Autosport about his exit from FE.

“I said I showed on track I had the talent to be in the car to be a Formula E driver. I finished the best way I could have done in Berlin with a win. 

“In the end I'm not frustrated or anything. My future is in endurance. Maybe in the future I will still be working in Formula E if there is an opportunity.

“For my future I had to make some decisions, like sportscars or Formula E. I could have done one more year doing Formula E plus endurance but not more I think.”

Norman Nato, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02

Norman Nato, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Venturi had already communicated its decision to Nato before his Berlin victory in mid-August, but a formal announcement regarding di Grassi’s signing wasn’t made until a month after the finale.

Asked when he heard about Venturi's plans for 2022, he said: “It was before Berlin, I knew that already since August.

"It was pretty clear that they were looking for something different for the future of the team because they knew that I was not going to stay in Formula E as well for many years. 

“Lucas is a good choice. He's a fast guy, has a lot of experience. They decided to take another way, which I understand. 

“As I said I did my job, we finished seventh in the championship in front of Porsche. For a non-manufacturer team I think we did a great season, me and my teammate. 

“I was a rookie. I should have done three-four podiums in total, two have been removed. Plus a win. So, as a rookie I think it was quite an unlucky season.”

Nato is looking at a number of endurance racing championships for 2022, with WEC, ELMS, and the IMSA SportsCar Championship all on his radar. 

“I'm in discussions, maybe you will see me a bit in Formula E doing some work," he said. "For sure I'll be in endurance [racing] as well. I'm also developing a nitrogen car. You will see me [next year] for sure, where yet, I don't know. Let's see.”

shares
comments

Related video

DS Techeetah FE team co-founder Preston moves to executive role
Previous article

DS Techeetah FE team co-founder Preston moves to executive role

Next article

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E
Load comments
Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Plus

Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 6, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Plus

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-2022 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two Formula E teams Plus

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two Formula E teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Plus

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021
How Formula E's polarising newcomer can prove himself Plus

How Formula E's polarising newcomer can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race-winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Plus

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Plus

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Plus

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021