Nissan Renault Alliance, one of the largest union in the world, happens to be among the top 5 manufacturer in the world, if the sales of both the French and Japanese auto major are to be combined. The former, Nissan, is also the leading player when it comes to electric vehicles, with its Nissan Leaf EV leading the electric car pack across the globe.
Yet, the Japanese manufacturer was missing from the Formula E action, the all-electric motorsports equivalent of Formula 1 racing. On the other hand, its alliance, Renault races both in Formula 1 and Formula E. Motorsport.com has revealed earlier that the Renault-Nissan alliance was discussing how to best operate works motorsport programmes for the two manufacturers.
And now multiple sources have confirmed that the union has given a nod to the Nissan’s entry into the electric single-seater series, replacing the Renault e.dams team. Mike Carcamo, the boss of Nissan's global motorsport arm NISMO, had also visited the Renault e.dams team and the FIA during the Valencia pre-season test last week.
This is not an official confirmation from the either the team or the FIA, but there are several incidences to connect the dots. Carcamo was already in Spain for the previous weekend's Blancpain season finale at Barcelona. Being a leading electric car manufacturer, it is an ideal option for the alliance to maintain a presence in Formula E, that too in the form of Nissan.
With the arrival of Nissan, it will the first time a Japanese manufacturer will mark its presence at the Formula E championship, as there’s no Japanese manufacturer at present. But the series CEO Alejandro Agag has told Motorsport.com at Valencia that he expected that to change. Asked about Nissan, Toyota and Honda, Agag said "one of those three, maybe two, will end up" in the series, but declined to comment on which manufacturer and when it would be.
Honda from Japan also expressed its interest in Formula E but that’s a long term goal as the team is currently focusing on its beleaguered F1 engine programme. Toyota too, has registered its interest for the all-electric series, but hasn’t gave a conclusive indications. Toyota is currently reviewing its FIA World Endurance Championship participation in the wake of its rival manufacturers exiting the LMP1 category.
It is expected that Nissan can official confirm its motorsports entry at the next years Geneva Motor Show. Renault e.dams, which launched its 2017/18 challenger, the Z.E.17, last month in Paris, is likely to abandon any major rebranding for this season, with something official for the 2018/19 season is expected – when Formula E abandons mid-race car swaps.
With the demise of Renault from Formula E, they can focus on its Formula 1 programme, where they participate both as a constructor and an engine supplier. Nissan, on the other hand, will be back to the forefront of a major international racing championship for the first time since axing its failed LMP1 project at the end of 2015.
But this exit also means that the Formula E's most successful manufacturer will exit the series. Renault first partnered with e.dams for the 2015/16 season, and won both the drivers' and teams' titles before helping e.dams to a hat-trick of teams' honours last season. It is understood that the position of lead driver Sebastien Buemi is not under threat. He also races for Nissan's rival Japanese manufacturer Toyota in WEC. However, Toyota blessed Buemi's commitment to Formula E.
His team mate and the 2015/16 champion Nico Prost signed fresh deals with Renault e.dams earlier this year, extending his stay at the team by 2018/19 season.