Former Formula 1 driver Filipe Massa will race in the next season of the FIA Formula E Championship with Venturi.
Having retired from Formula 1 at the conclusion of 2017 following a 15-season career with stints at the Sauber, Ferrari and Williams teams, Massa has made no secret of his intentions to continue racing elsewhere.
Making an appearance at the Rome ePrix earlier this season, the Brazilian said at the time: “It would be a great pleasure to be here racing. I can not stay at home for very long – I need to find something to do and Formula E is a championship that’s showing some good possibilities.”
This plan has now come to fruition for the fifth season of the all-electric championship – the first of a three year deal with the Monaco-based squad.
Speaking at the announcement of his new deal this week, Massa cited the innovation in technology and race formats of Formula E as part of his excitement to join the series.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Venturi President Gildo Pastor added that the experience Massa will bring to the team will be a huge advantage moving forward.
“It’s an honour to welcome Felipe to the Venturi family. I needed him, his experience, his speed, and his openness,” he explained.
“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.”
The benefits of Massa’s experience will begin to be experienced by Venturi from late May. While his first race won’t be until the opening round of the 2018/19 season later this year, the introduction of the second-generation Formula E car at the same time will see the Brazilian behind the wheel resting the team’s new car from the end of this month.
While it is currently unclear which of Venturi’s current drivers – being Maro Engel and Edoardo Mortara – will make way for Massa next season, it is possible that at least one of the duo will move to the new HWA AG Formula E team. HWA has a long history with Mercedes AMG – for whom both Engel and Mortara are contracted – and will also be using a powertrain in their cars supplied by Venturi.
Image via FIA Formula E Championship