Norman Nato saw his dream podium turn into an immediate nightmare in Sunday’s second race of the Rome ePrix, with the Frenchman finding himself disqualified after finishing on the road in third.
The ROKiT Venturi Racing driver was handed the harsh penalty after using too much energy during the race, although it was a close-run thing. He was still in the positive heading into the final turns but used too much on the run to the line.
Nato had starred in Qualifying earlier in the day, topping the initial session before finishing an impressive second in the Super Pole session. He was in contention for good points all day long only for him and his team to suffer heartbreak at the end.
“After a difficult day yesterday, we bounced back today and I think we did a great job,” said Nato. “I started the race from P2 but took the lead early on before getting locked in the battle for the remaining podium places.
“I had great fun fighting with Alexander [Sims], Max [Guenther] and Pascal [Wehrlein] and it was a very close fight. It felt great to take P3 at the chequered flag but when I found out that it wouldn’t be my first podium in Formula E, it was a very difficult pill to swallow.”
Nato says he still has plenty to learn as he adapts to life in FIA Formula E, but he will be doing everything he can to make further steps forward across the remainder of the season, starting with the Valencia ePrix later this month.
“This was only my fourth race in the championship and I still have a lot to learn, but there are a lot of positives to take from today,” said Nato. “I think I made a big step forward from the season-opener in Diriyah and I’ll continue to push to improve.
“This wasn’t the first and won’t be the last time we have fight for the podium this season and now, my whole focus is on the next race in Valencia.”
Susie Wolff, the Team Principal at Venturi, says investigations will take place to see why Nato used too much energy during the race, and she felt the disqualification cost the Frenchman a deserved podium.
“We’re still trying to understand what lead to Norman’s overuse of power but putting the disqualification aside, he did a fantastic job today and showed just what he’s capable of,” said Wolff.
“His performance in qualifying was outstanding and he drove a fantastic race. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to stand on the podium like we deserved today.”