Felipe Nasr: Formula E is 'showing the way to the future'
Ahead of his Formula E debut at this weekend's Mexico City E-Prix, former F1 driver Felipe Nasr believes that the all-electric single seater series is "showing the way to the future" after experiencing large growth rates since its inception in 2014.
Nasr, 26, joins the Formula E grid this weekend after it was announced that the Brazilian driver would replace Maximilian Gunther at GEOX Dragon, joining Jose Maria Lopez at the American outfit for the fourth round of the season.
As well as racing in Formula 1 for two seasons for Sauber, Nasr has also enjoyed success in sportscar racing, most recently becoming the champion of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2018, driving the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadilac DPi-V.R.
Nasr's scheduled debut at this weekend's race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez will mark his first single-seater race since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix while the driver admitted that Formula E had been on his racing radar for some time:
“I’m thrilled to be joining GEOX Dragon at the Mexico City E-Prix,” he said. “The series has been on my radar for a while now, and I feel that this is a remarkable opportunity.”
As a championship, Formula E has seen large growth rates since its inaugural 2014/15 season, racing in some of the most iconic cityscapes in the world including Paris, Rome and New York City while attracting some of the largest automotive manufacturers to the grid such as Audi, Nissan, BMW and Jaguar while Mercedes-Benz and Porsche will join later this year.
Examining the growth rate of the series, which was born in a Parisian restaurant on the back of a serviette, Nasr stated that Formula E is showing the future, not only advancing the development of electric vehicles but also redefining motorsport:
“Formula E has taken big steps since it began and is now showing the way to the future, not only pushing the boundaries of the electric vehicle technology but also the way teams and drivers compete in a challenging single day event format in the heart of major city centers all around the world.”
GEOX Dragon currently occupies 10th in the Teams' Championship with two points after experiencing an unlucky start to its Season Five campaign, but despite this, Nasr communicated his confidence about the team's EV-3 package:
"GEOX Dragon is certainly looking very strong with its new Gen 2 car, and I think the whole team has done a great job understanding the keys to performance and how to get the best out of their in-house developed package straight away," he continued.
"There are a lot of talented and incredibly hard-working people within the organisation.
"I’m also looking forward to work alongside Pechito [Lopez]! He’s got a lot of experience and significant achievements in his career so far.
"I am also very excited to work alongside someone like Jay Penske, who wants to succeed in every aspect of the sport and who brings the right energy into the team.”
Penske, Team Principal of GEOX Dragon added: “I am pleased to welcome Felipe into the GEOX Dragon organisation.
"Felipe brings with him his incredible credentials, a keen racing intellect and a desire to achieve success in this championship.
"This mindset fits perfectly with GEOX Dragon's continuing evolution to compete at the front of this demanding series.
"Between Max, Felipe, and José, I believe we have one of the strongest line-ups on the grid. I look forward to working with Felipe to achieve our objectives, beginning with his debut this weekend in Mexico City.”
With Nasr taking over Gunther's race seat for the remainder of the 2018/19 campaign, it remains to be seen what the German driver's relationship with the team is and whether he has replaced the Ferrari-affiliated Antonio Fuoco as the outfit's reserve driver, with Formula E and IMSA seeing a calendar clash on the date of the Rome E-Prix.
The Mexico City E-Prix will take place on February 16 and will be followed by Formula E's third and final in-season group testing session the following day.