Formula E: Nato to step in for injured Sam Bird in Seoul E-Prix

Norman Nato will replace Jaguar’s Sam Bird in the final Formula E weekend of the season after the Brit sustained a broken hand during the London E-Prix.

Bird was found to have broken his hand in a Lap 1 incident in the London E-Prix Round 14, following post-race medical checks. Despite the injury, the Brit was able to climb from 15th to eighth in the race.

Jaguar noted in a statement immediately after the London double-header that Bird would be assessed in the days to follow, but it has since been determined that he would be unable to compete in the final weekend in Seoul.

Taking Bird’s place is Formula E race winner and Jaguar TCS Racing reserve driver Norman Nato, who capped a fine rookie 2020/21 campaign for ROKiT Venturi Racing with a win in the last race of the Season 7.

Bird’s absence from Seoul will mark the first races the 35-year-old has failed to start in Formula E’s 98-race history, as the championship approaches its centenary round to close out Season 8. The team has stated that Bird will now undergo an operation to correct the fracture.

“I’m devastated not to be driving in the final two rounds of the season in Seoul, particularly as it would have been my 100th race in Formula E,” said Bird. “I need to spend the next few weeks recovering from the operation on my left hand, so I am fully fit for testing and Season 9. I have confidence in Norman, he is a race winner and I’m sure he’ll bring some great points home for Jaguar TCS Racing.”

Nato will step into the breech for both races of the inaugural Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix weekend later this month, alongside teammate and title challenger Mitch Evans. Jaguar TCS Racing is also chasing third in the Teams’ World Championship, and currently sits 44 points shy of DS Techeetah.

“We are hugely disappointed for Sam and that he won’t be competing next weekend in Seoul,” said Team Principal James Barclay. “It should have been his 100th Formula E race and I have to say his drive in London was nothing short of heroic, to drive through considerable pain and a slow puncture shows how much of a fighter he is. The priority now though is for his operation and focussing on a full recovery ahead of Gen3 testing and racing again in January.”

“As a team we all have full faith in Norman to deliver valuable points for Jaguar TCS Racing. He won the season finale last year and is determined to help us fight for every place in the Teams’ standings.”