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Wolff: Customer Team Status “Right Decision”

Team principal Susie Wolff on why Venturi chose to become a customer of Mercedes…

Photo: Formula E

Venturi Racing team principal Susie Wolff has expressed her faith in overseeing the transition of the team from a manufacturer to a customer team for the forthcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.

The Monegasque team confirmed last week that Mercedes-Benz will supply the vast majority of hardware for Felipe Massa and Edoardo Mortara’s cars.

The deal was agreed in 2017 when Mercedes-Benz formed its strategy to enter the all-electric championship.

HWA Racelab, which competed in the series last season as a prelude to Mercedes-Benz EQ’s fully-fledged entry, used customer Venturi powertrains in 2018-19,

Gildo Pastor, Venturi’s president, is credited with the long-term strategy of striking up the partnership with Mercedes-Benz on a mutually beneficial basis covering multiple seasons.

“We saw in Season Five (2018-19) that customer teams have the possibility of racing at the front and for us as a smaller team it was absolutely the right decision for performance,” Wolff told e-racing365.

“It all means we can hopefully have a strong package and work on optimizing it.”

Wolff also articulated her belief that Venturi’s continuity in its driving ranks for 2019-20 will pay dividends.

“It was always one of our string assets that we had a strong driver lineup,” she said.

“It was Felipe’s rookie season which is always a steep learning curve in Formula E and we had our issues with the car last season which made it challenging for both drivers.

“Edo showed last season with the victory and the various podiums what he is capable of and alongside Felipe no one can doubt their speed.”

Wolff also admitted that the cessation of working with the team’s former technical partner, ZF Group, saw a drop-off in its performance in the second half of the 2018-19 campaign.

“We had a tough start to the season but managed to recover and we showed what we are capable of with our win last season,” she said.

“It tailed off because we just weren’t able to keep up the development because it was clear we were switching to customer status and leaving our manufacturer partner [ZF Group].”

Nato, Lecrlerc Likely to Continue with Venturi

Venturi reserve and development drivers Norman Nato and Arthur Leclerc are likely to retain their positions within the team for the coming season. Both have tested for the team on several occasions over the past year.

“It is most likely that Norman is going to continue but it’s a difficult situation as there will be no testing for us next season,” Wolff told e-racing365.

“On the cost control side I am very happy but on the other side for drivers and those that we are trying to build up for a future in Formula E it is very difficult because of the limitation in what we can do apart from simulator work.”

Venturi has installed a major new in-the-loop simulator at its Monaco base over the summer and both Nato and Leclerc are expected to undertake lengthy programs on the new capability.

“I think between Norman and Arthur we have a good setup because we have a new simulator for Season Six that we have been working very hard on in the off-season,” Wolff confirmed.

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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