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Formula E Hyderabad ePrix

Not "realistic" to compare Nissan's FE results with McLaren, says Fenestraz

Nissan driver Sacha Fenestraz feels it is not "realistic" to compare Nissan's Formula E results with that of its customer McLaren, despite the massive performance gulf seen between the two teams.

Sacha Fenestraz, Nissan Formula E Team, Nissan e-4ORCE 04

While Nissan has bagged a single points finish so far in 2023 thanks to an eighth-place result for Fenestraz in the second Diriyah race, McLaren has managed to regularly fight at the front in both qualifying and the race with the same powertrain, with Rene Rast's podium in Saudi Arabia being the highlight of its short FE foray so far.

McLaren, in fact, stands third in the championship heading to the inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix on Saturday, having scored 53 points across the opening three races compared to just four for the factory Nissan team.

It represents the widest gulf between any manufacturer team and its customer at the beginning of the Gen3 era, which has also seen both Andretti and Envision outscoring their suppliers Porsche and Jaguar respectively.

However, Fenestraz believes it would be unfair to analyse Nissan's performance purely based on how it compares with that of McLaren's as that wouldn't take into consideration just how successful the British team was in its Mercedes guise at the end of the Gen2 era.

Asked what Nissan can do to extract more performance from a powertrain that has shown podium-worthy pace with McLaren, FE rookie Fenestraz told Autosport: "Of course we need to be realistic. McLaren has been world champion two years, the last two seasons as the Mercedes team.

"We have been in a difficult situation the last two, three seasons for us as the Nissan team. So it's something we need to keep humble [about], it's not really realistic to compare everything [between] McLaren and us, as we are talking about a two-time world champion team and we are in a different situation.

Sacha Fenestraz, Nissan Formula E Team, Nissan e-4ORCE 04, in the pit lane

Sacha Fenestraz, Nissan Formula E Team, Nissan e-4ORCE 04, in the pit lane

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

"Of course, the biggest part of the car, which is the powertrain, we have the same one, so we know the performance we can do. So as I said the team is new for us, we just need to put everything together and the performance will come."

Rast has led McLaren's charge on its entry into Formula E and finished third in the second leg of the Diriyah double-header, behind the all-conquering Porsche-powered cars of race winner Pascal Wehrlein and Jake Dennis.

Asked if he was surprised with McLaren outperforming its powertrain supplier in both Mexico City and Diriyah, Rast told Autosport: "A little bit yes, because obviously Nissan have done a lot more test days than we have done.

"But they have built the package that we have right now. So I think they've done a very good job, they have maybe a different philosophy to how they approach things. But I think what McLaren did so far is very good."

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Nissan rejigged its Formula E team ahead of the start of the Gen3 era after buying out DAMS' stake in the team, which has led to more involvement from Japan even as it continues to function out of its previous headquarters in France.

Fenestraz believes it will take some time for the workforce to gel with each other, but is buoyed by the potential the powertrain has shown in the early part of the campaign.

"We had more or less a new team inside, 70% of the team is new [in terms of] people inside," said the Franco-Argentine. "It's something that is going to take time for us to build up, but we know the car can be fast, the powertrain and everything can be quick.

"So we just need to put it together, we need to work as a team as we have been doing now and the points have come. We have the package to get good results."

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