Understanding the Role of Reserve Driver

Learn more about Norman Nato’s role as ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Reserve Driver…

Everything is go during the one-day city centre event cycle of a Formula E race weekend, but away from the track at our Monaco base, one driver is always working hard behind the scenes.

Since Season 5, Norman Nato has been part of the ROKiT Venturi Racing family and has become a key component of our racing operation in his two-season spell with the team.

As our Reserve Driver, the French karting champion holds a massive amount of responsibility, not just as our team stand-in but ultimately, as one of our main ports of call for crucial car development work.

In his role, Norman can either be found at our Monaco headquarters, putting in the laps on our state-of-the-art simulator or in the Formula E paddock as a familiar face in our garage.

In this role, Norman is in the unique position of potentially being called up to race at the very last minute, should one of our full-time drivers not be able to compete.

With this situation, preparation is key, and maintaining a specific mentality of being ready to race is instrumental, given the unpredictability of the role.

“Being a Reserve Driver is quite an important role in Formula E due to the unique condensed race format, there isn’t as much preparation time as in other championships,” explains Norman. 

“When I’m in the simulator, my job is to prepare everything for the drivers and to try things out before a race weekend.

“In the run-up to and during race weekends, mentally, you have to be ready as if you will race. If something happens to one of the two drivers, you have to be prepared, even if it’s a last-minute call.

“In this role, you need to be ready to jump into the car and you need to be aware of the procedures. Because of my preparations, if the team needs me, I’m ready to go.”

Reflecting on this chance scenario that has happened and will likely happen again in Formula E, Norman described a crescendo of emotions that could be at play:

“When the call comes in, first of all, you’re kind of happy because in Formula E, you don’t get a lot of opportunities to jump into the car so when that chance comes, you have to optimise it.

“For sure, the feeling is a blend of excitement and stress – you want to do a good job and you want to deliver for the team. I’m always ready though if the team needs me at any time.

“Being part of ROKiT Venturi Racing is like being part of a family. In our breaks, we sometimes play paddle or petanque – we are friends but colleagues at the same time and that’s the perfect way to work.”