The ROKiT Venturi Formula E team, partnered by Acronis, experienced a Sunday of mixed emotions in Rome as Norman Nato suffered late heartbreak and Edoardo Mortara came home in fourth.
For rookie Nato, it looked as if he would deservedly finish on the podium on only his fourth race start but his energy dwindled to zero just before the penultimate corner, meaning it would be an agonising DNF instead of a third place finish.
The Rome E Prix was a weekend of highs and lows, with excitement and intrigue until the very end.
— ROKiT Venturi Racing (@VenturiFE) April 12, 2021
Nato had shown his pace in qualifying, securing P2 on the grid before leading the race after an early spin from pole sitter Nick Cassidy. He then showed fine racecraft in passing Oliver Rowland and Maximilian Guenther with Attack Mode and looked set for a podium after getting past the Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein before his late disappointment.
“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. 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. 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.”
Thank you all for your kind messages yesterday🙏🏻 Already focusing on next week’s race in Valencia. We will bounce back 👊🏻
Merci à tous pour vos messages 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/qk8ToZXoGf
— Norman Nato (@NatoNorman) April 12, 2021
For Mortara, after his second-place finish in Diriyah, a fourth place represented another good return and means he lies a strong 7th in the drivers standings.
“The track conditions today were extremely tricky and the circuit was damp for the entire race,” said Mortara. “It was challenging to navigate because of the varying levels of grip, but we’ve had a good day. During the race, I didn’t make any mistakes and the car was incredibly competitive which is very promising, especially after the difficulties we faced yesterday. I’m devastated for Norman – he executed qualifying and the race brilliantly and he deserved to finish on the podium. Results like this are difficult but we have shown a lot of potential. I can’t wait to race in Valencia later this month.”
Regardless of Nato’s unfortunate disqualification, the Monaco based team knows it has a car capable of challenging at the sharp end of things for the remainder of the season and with one of the strongest of driver pairings.
“We’re still trying to understand what lead to Norman’s over use of power but putting the disqualification aside, he did a fantastic job today and showed just what he’s capable of,” added Susie Wolff, ROKiT Venturi Racing Team Principal. “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.
“Edo produced a very strong drive today to take P4 at the end – I’m not sure how he managed to keep the car on the track in that late battle with Guenther. It’s a great shame not to have both cars inside the top five, but today, we showed our potential and we showed that we’re able to fight for podiums. We’re fast, it was great to compete at the front, and we’re all very motivated and determined to carry this performance forward to Valencia.”
Losing a podium with Norman at the very last moment today was tough for us all. But with his performance and Edo’s strong drive to P4, we leave Rome knowing we have the speed to race at the front. Roll on Valencia. pic.twitter.com/S14qF9kmvt
— Susie Wolff (@Susie_Wolff) April 11, 2021