Formula 2 driver Theo Pourchaire could be seeking to replace Sebastien Buemi at the Nissan Formula E team following his involvement in Gen3 development testing earlier this year.
Pourchaire who is an ART GP and Sauber Academy driver is presently second in the F2 standings and is already planning his 2023 strategy, which includes attempting to secure a promotion to Formula One. However, if a move to Formula One for 2023 does not materialise, a transfer to Formula E could be an option.
Nissan is revising the structure of the programme after stating in April that it had become the sole owner of its Formula E licence following a previous deal with the DAMS group’s e.dams section.
Pourchaire’s ART GP squad will now support Nissan in its Gen3 test and development phase this summer, while it will not be formally part of the team’s management. However, Tommaso Volpe, the CEO of Nissan Formula E would not confirm ART GP’s involvement but last month he revealed that the team’s top management will be Nissan Formula E, and that it will not be outsourced.
“…the top management of the team will be Nissan Formula E, this is not going to be outsourced to anyone,” Volpe said. “So, the key decision makers, the key managers, the key engineers of the team will always be hired by the team, so there won’t be an outsourcing of racing management.”
“We may look at making efficiency with some suppliers, for sure but not taking place over what we’ve got.”
Nissan expects to keep the majority of its technical staff next season, thanks to increased finances, but it signed an arrangement with ART GP earlier this year to be a supplier for its Gen3 manufacturer test programme, which will begin later this month.
Maximilian Guenther is expected to stay with the team for a second season in 2023. However Sebastien Buemi, will depart the team following the season finale in August and join the Envision Racing team according to reports.
In recent months, Nissan is said to have held negotiations with Nyck de Vries, although the reigning champion is thought to be contemplating other possibilities in both Formula E and the World Endurance Championship with Toyota.
In his formal function as test and reserve driver, which he has had since July 2020, the reigning Formula E champion will be at this week’s Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota.
It’s unclear whether a potential De Vries move to Nissan has been hampered by a clash of brand representation and Toyota’s expected prioritisation of programmes.
Buemi, ironically, has served as the driver and brand representative for Nissan and Toyota since 2018 in Formula E and World Endurance Championship respectively.
At last month’s Berlin E-Prix, De Vries told German TV station Prosieben that he will “probably” participate in Formula E next season, “but not for McLaren.”
Spark Racing Technologies conducted Pourchaire’s secret test in Spain early this year as part of the initial development of the Gen3 research car. Six of the seven manufacturers have now received their official test cars, allowing them to launch their own private testing programmes this month.
Maserati, while being a recognised manufacturer, does not receive a car due to its status as an additional’make’ under the same homologation as the Stellantis Group of firms.
Spark has already tested Formula E with non-F1 drivers, including a youthful de Vries in 2015 and the late Antoine Hubert in 2017. Since last autumn, it has hired three-time Le Mans champion Benoit Treluyer for the majority of its Gen3 testing.