Former Formula One driver Felipe Massa will race for Venturi in season five after signing a three-year deal with the Monegasque team.
Massa has been linked with a move to Formula E ever-since the Brazilian retired from Formula One in 2017. The 37-year old will take part in a private testing session at the wheel of the VFE-05 by the end of May.
Having been won over by Gildo Pastor’s long-term project, the Brazilian driver believes the Venturi has the potential to move forward in the championship after a strong development step from season three to season four.
“I’m very happy to be joining the Venturi Formula E Team and the Formula E championship, which has become a magnificent competition in such a short space of time,” said Massa.
“For some years now, I’ve been clear about my interest in this innovative, forward-looking discipline that’s developing exponentially. I especially like the format of race meetings, the city-centre circuits and the contact with the fans.
“I can’t wait to take part in testing at the end of the month. Gildo (Pastor) has always been a step ahead when it comes to high-performance electric vehicles. The team is in a phase of growth and development. I’ll do everything I can to contribute to the project, and hopefully, I’ll be among the front-runners,” added Massa.
Venturi President Gildo Pastor was delighted with his new signing, putting a strong emphasis on Massa’s experience and humility as valuable assets to the team.
“It’s an honour to welcome Felipe to the Venturi family,” said Pastor. “I needed him, his experience, his speed, and his openness. Formula E is extremely complex to set up and drive. Even more so than in other disciplines, teamwork between the driver and the engineering team is one of the keys to success. Felipe’s 15 years’ experience in Formula 1 will definitely give us a boost. And with his humble nature, I know he will listen to the team and master the discipline quickly.”
Massa will be the fourth former F1 driver to race for Venturi in Formula E, after Nick Heidfeld, Stephane Sarrazin and Jacques Villeneuve all previously had stints with the team.
Introduction of HWA AG
HWA AG is Formula E’s newest and 11th team for season five. They will be using the Venturi powertrain next season, while also having a strong link to German manufacturer Mercedes, who will enter with their own factory team in season 6.
“Formula E is a completely new motorsport discipline with extremely tough competition,” explained Ulrich Fritz, CEO of HWA AG. “It’s a challenge that we’re very happy to rise to. HWA AG are the most successful team ever in DTM history. Our goal is to continue the company’s success story in Formula E.”
Massa’s move to Venturi may be the catalyst for either one of Maro Engel or Edoardo Mortara to move to HWA AG due to their existing affiliation with Mercedes. Mortara currently drives for the HWA AG DTM team, whilst Engel also drove for the squad in DTM last year before quitting to commit full-time to Formula E.
Massa’s arrival has set into motion Formula E’s silly season, where a number of drivers could be linked to different seats around the FE paddock.