Venturi to run Mercedes' Mortara and Engel in Formula E 2017/18

Venturi will field two Mercedes DTM drivers in the upcoming Formula E season, having chosen Edoardo Mortara to partner Maro Engel for the 2017/18 campaign

Venturi to run Mercedes' Mortara and Engel in Formula E 2017/18

Mortara drove for the team for the first time in private testing in August and joined Venturi for the official pre-season test at Valencia as well.

He shared the car in Spain with James Rossiter and development driver Michael Benyahia, the 2017 Formula Renault Northern European Cup champion, but gearbox problems blighted all Venturi's running.

Mortara will make his FE debut in the season-opening Hong Kong double-header, and race on home soil in Rome on April 12.

Engel continues for a second season in FE after a strong rookie campaign with Venturi that featured a best result of fifth in the team's home race in Monaco.

"Formula E grows bigger every day," said Venturi president Gildo Pallanca Pastor.

"That's why this team is now more solid than ever.

"After a year working together, continuing with Maro was the obvious choice.

"As for Edoardo, on the one hand he has an impressive record, and on the other, testing convinced us of both his human qualities and driving ability."

Mortara joins the city-centre racing series with strong street circuit pedigree.

He claimed back-to-back Macau Grand Prix titles in Formula 3 in 2009 and 2010, and won the Macau GT race in 2011-13 driving privateer Audis.

The 30-year-old finished second in the DTM in 2016 driving for Audi, but had a tricky first season with Mercedes and scored just one podium finish on his way to 14th in the championship this year.

He switched to Mercedes after six DTM seasons with Audi, only for his new employer to announce halfway through the year it would withdraw from the German touring car series at the end of 2018.

Like other Mercedes-contracted drivers he has evaluated alternatives, but told Autosport after pre-season testing finished that the 2017/18 FE chance had come as "a little bit of a surprise".

"This has been a pretty last-minute call," he said. "We started speaking about some possible tests quite late.

"I was obviously up for it, because FE is a good opportunity, especially for the future.

"For me it was something really positive."

Mortara's appearance in testing with Venturi, aligned with Engel's suspected ongoing role with the team, had sparked speculation he was being placed there by his employer Mercedes.

The German manufacturer is joining FE in 2019/20 and has been linked to a proxy entry with its favoured race team HWA in 2018/19.

But Venturi chief technical officer Franck Baldet told Autosport that the presence of two Mercedes-contracted drivers was purely a coincidence and would not involve a technical tie-up or the embedding of HWA engineers.

Conversely Porsche, which is also joining FE in 2019/20, is openly assessing placing staff at Dragon Racing and Techeetah, where its LMP1 drivers Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer have secured independent deals respectively.

Venturi's announcement leaves just the second Andretti seat, which will be filled by one, or a combination, of Tom Blomqvist and Alexander Sims, available.

2017/18 Formula E driver line-up

Renault e.dams
Sebastien Buemi, Nico Prost

Audi Sport Abt
Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt

Mahindra
Felix Rosenqvist, Nick Heidfeld

DS Virgin Racing
Sam Bird, Alex Lynn

Techeetah
Jean-Eric Vergne, Andre Lotterer

NIO
Luca Filippi, Oliver Turvey

Andretti
Antonio Felix da Costa, TBA

Dragon Racing
Neel Jani, Jerome d'Ambrosio

Venturi
Maro Engel, Edoardo Mortara

Jaguar
Nelson Piquet Jr, Mitch Evans

shares
comments
Formula E reveals Rome circuit layout for 2018 race
Previous article

Formula E reveals Rome circuit layout for 2018 race

Next article

BMW upping support of Andretti Formula E team earlier than expected

BMW upping support of Andretti Formula E team earlier than expected
What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2 Plus

What Formula E needs next after saying goodbye to Gen2

The 2021-2022 Formula E season finale brought the curtain down on the Gen2 era of the all-electric world championship. It elevated FE to new heights, fulfilling its intended directive. While it is a good launching pad for the impending Gen3 cycle, there are certain aspects the series must tackle for the new era to have the same impact as its predecessor

The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge Plus

The traits behind Vandoorne's triumphant Formula E title charge

The odds were heavily stacked in Stoffel Vandoorne’s favour to capture the Formula E crown at the Seoul finale, but chief rival Mitch Evans applied maximum pressure with victory in the first race. It meant Vandoorne had to show his resolve to reproduce the key qualities he held all season to complete his march to the title

Formula E
Aug 15, 2022
Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title? Plus

Can anyone beat Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E title?

Stoffel Vandoorne is on the brink of the Formula E title with a commanding lead ahead of the Seoul finale, but both rivals and unknowns still stand in his way. Here’s a run through of what Vandoorne must overcome to clinch the championship and how his competition will look to pull off the biggest of shocks

Formula E
Aug 10, 2022
How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon Plus

How Formula E's most underrated driver is taming his Dragon

It might not look like the most glittering of Formula E campaigns, but Dragon Penske’s youngster has caught the eye of those who count despite his future remaining unclear. Regardless of the distortion, Sergio Sette Camara has a clear vision of what he’s focused on and how to get there

Formula E
Aug 4, 2022
How Formula E's title fight gave way to Dennis and Di Grassi in the dockyards Plus

How Formula E's title fight gave way to Dennis and Di Grassi in the dockyards

The penultimate stop on Formula E's world tour took in London's ExCeL, where the championship contenders were upstaged by two first-time winners in 2022. Andretti’s Jake Dennis kept the home fires burning in the first race as Venturi’s Lucas di Grassi claimed the second, but two consistent finishes mean its advantage Stoffel Vandoorne heading to the Seoul finale

Formula E
Aug 1, 2022
The ex-F1 racer turned Venturi team boss adapting to a Formula E title fight Plus

The ex-F1 racer turned Venturi team boss adapting to a Formula E title fight

For the second year in a row, the Venturi team is in the thick of the fight for Formula E title glory with Edoardo Mortara. That's despite a change to a more meritocratic qualifying system, which was expected to give the works Mercedes team an edge, and ex-Formula 1 racer Jerome d'Ambrosio being new in the team principal hot seat. As he tells Autosport, it's a challenge he's revelling in

Formula E
Jul 26, 2022
Why Sims is quitting Formula E to become the master of his own destiny Plus

Why Sims is quitting Formula E to become the master of his own destiny

Alexander Sims’ call to give up a pukka Formula E spot after four seasons in the series may have surprised some, but after laying out his reasoning and what he hopes comes next, very few onlookers can argue against his plan

Formula E
Jul 20, 2022
How Formula E's Big Apple crunch led to Cassidy joy and heartache Plus

How Formula E's Big Apple crunch led to Cassidy joy and heartache

Nick Cassidy hadn't enjoyed too many joyful moments in the 2021-22 Formula E campaign, but the Envision Virgin driver was the class of the field in New York - even after a sudden downpour had caused him and several others to shunt heavily out of the first race. Red flags saved his bacon on that occasion, but a 30-place penalty that cost him pole for race two due to a new battery opened the door for Antonio Felix da Costa

Formula E
Jul 18, 2022