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Mortara, Paffett Favorites for Final Seat at Venturi

Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett are the likely contenders for a Venturi seat…

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Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett have emerged as the favorites to be Felipe Massa’s teammate at Venturi in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship next season.

E-racing365 understands that one of the two Mercedes-AMG works drivers is the likely contender for the second seat at the Monegasque team, with Mortara either remaining or Paffett making his Formula E race debut.

Paffett got his first taste of Formula E at the Marrakesh rookie test in January with Venturi and is said to have impressed the team with his approach and ambition to race in the all-electric series.

Testing of Venturi’s Gen 2 car continues this week with running taking place at Ales in France, with both drivers believed to be in attendance at the four-day test alongside the Brazilian.

Current DTM points leader Paffett spent the 2007 season as teammate with recently-named Venturi team principal Susie Wolff and has undertaken several seasons with HWA, which will join Formula E next season as a Venturi customer ahead of a full Mercedes factory effort in 2019-20.

Mortara has recently tested Venturi’s Gen 2 car and, despite some erratic performances last season, it is understood that some elements of the team would prefer him over a new driver.

The reasoning appears to be based on the Italian/Swiss driver’s flashes of speed and having Formula E experience to assist Massa getting acclimated to the notoriously complex discipline of the all-electric series.

Mortara finished 13th in the points standings this season, having missed three races due to clashing DTM commitments, with a season-best finish of second in Hong Kong.

Tom Dillman, one of Venturi’s other drivers, told e-racing365 that he will not be part of the Monegasque team’s race lineup next season.

Engel “Working Hard” on Continuing Formula E Career

Outgoing Venturi driver Maro Engel is investigating options to continue his Formula E career and could also be in contention for the team’s second seat.

The German, who has appeared in 23 Formula E races for Venturi since the beginning of Season Three, finished 17th and 12th in his two seasons, scoring a best result of fourth at the Paris E-Prix in April.

“There is nothing firmed up or clear for me just now, so we are still in the process of discussing things,” Engel told e-racing365.

“It is not an ideal situation but we are working hard on it and investigating options.

“Formula E is something I want to be part of in the future and I think when things have been right I have delivered some strong results like in Paris.”

Despite improved reliability last season, Venturi still had results compromised with an unexplained straight-line speed issue.

This came after a power spike issue in Hong Kong lost Engel a fourth-place finish.

“There have been frustrations this season like Hong Kong where we were demoted for a brief power spike when I’d driven my heart and soul out after ironically dealing with a 100 kW power loss too,” Engel said.

Engel could also be considered by Venturi customer HWA next season.

E-racing365 understands that several drivers are in the running for the two seats, including Engel, Daniel Juncadella, Lucas Auer, Paul Di Resta, as well as Mortara and Paffett.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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    July 24, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Would put my money on Mortara for Venturi and Engel for HWA. Both teams do need FE experienced drivers and wouldn’t make sense for them to have a full rookie line-up.

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