Fenestraz has "big chance" to stay in Japan alongside FE
Sacha Fenestraz is hoping to continue racing in either Super Formula or SUPER GT next season alongside his new Formula E commitments for Nissan.
Fenestraz was announced earlier this week as one of two new Nissan drivers for the 2022-23 FE season, which begins in Mexico City next January and wraps up in London in late July.
The condensed FE schedule has given Fenestraz hope that he can keep one foot in the Japanese racing scene next year, having established himself as one of the top drivers on Toyota’s roster since joining the manufacturer in 2020.
He currently lies second in the Super Formula standings after picking up a first win for Kondo Racing at Sugo in June, while he and TOM’S squadmate Ritomo Miyata are leading the points in SUPER GT following their first win as a duo at Fuji this month.
Discussions are underway within Toyota about how to handle the situation for next year, with the marque thought to be keen to retain Fenestraz in some capacity amid a dearth of attractive alternatives who could replace the Franco-Argentine driver.
“Toyota is happy for me to be doing Formula E, because it’s a step up in my career,” Fenestraz, whose Nissan deal will take priority in the event of any clashes, told Motorsport.com. “I was relieved to hear that, because I was quite worried at first.
“Toyota opened the doors to me when I was at a very difficult point in my career, I was close to stopping racing [after being dropped by Renault at the end of 2018], but when I was in Japanese F3 they took me under their wing and took care of me. I appreciate that a lot.
“As soon as I knew [about the Nissan deal] I told them in case they need to find a driver for next year, I didn’t want to give them any trouble. But there’s still a big chance for me to be here next year.
“I am actually pushing [to stay in Japan] because the Formula E season finishes in July, and in SUPER GT there’s only three races in that time. There are some clashes, but from the talks I had so far, it shouldn’t be a big issue.”
SUPER GT would appear the more likely option for Fenestraz to stay in Japan as there is only one definite clash between the Suzuka race on June 4 and FE’s Jakarta round, although reaching the Monaco FE round in early May two days after the Fuji Golden Week event would be challenging.
Super Formula meanwhile features three clashes, with the April Suzuka, Autopolis and July Fuji races all conflicting with FE races (Berlin, Seoul and Rome respectively).
However, replacing Fenestraz in SUPER GT would be more straightforward for Toyota than it would be to find a full-time substitute for the highly-specialised Super Formula series.
Fenestraz ruled out trying to contest both Japanese series next year alongside FE, but has “no idea” which is more likely out of Super Formula and SUPER GT.
“I think if I wanted, I have the chance to do three series, but for my health I cannot,” he said. “I would be racing almost every weekend racing until July, plus all the travel.
“But I’m very happy here in Japan. I love the racing here, you get to drive a lot, the cars are amazing. I think there is still a good chance for me to be here.”
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