PROMISING BUT CHALLENGING START FOR VENTURI FORMULA E TEAM
The opening round of the 2018-2019 Formula E season saw a mixed start for the Monegasque team after several challenges hampered performance resulted in a 17th place finish for Felipe MASSA with team mate, Edoardo MONTARA, in 19th place for the inaugural Ad Diriyah ePrix.
RAIN IN THE DESERT
The surprise guest on Saturday came in the form of rain, with heavy showers disrupting the morning’s proceedings. A deluge forced delays and a schedule change resulting in just one practice session. MASSA used the limited time available to prepare his car for qualifying, focusing on braking and regeneration. MORTARA experienced his first brake issues of the day and was unable to avoid contact with the wall. His VENTURI VFE-05 emerged relatively unscathed, but the damage resulted in the premature end to his practice session.
As a result of the delays to free practice and a series of red flags throughout the morning, just two qualifying sessions took place (instead of the usual four). Despite the earlier incident and reduced preparation time and new track to contend with, MORTARA initially qualified 16th with MASSA in 19th. Several penalties resulted in a grid reshuffle with MASSA starting the race just ahead of his teammate in 12th position, MORTARA followed closely behind in 13th.
PACE AND PENALTIES
On the opening lap, Edoardo MORTARA was once again hit by braking issues and went nose-first into the wall, a new nose cone allowed him to rejoin the race at the back of the pack. The first few seconds of the race were much more auspicious for Felipe MASSA, however, as the Brazilian driver quickly moved up two places, leaving him in 10th position when the first Full Course Yellow flag arrived.
With a third of the race gone, MASSA – still 10th – was battling it out with Stoffel VAN DOORNE (HWA RACELAB), and Daniel ABT (AUDI SPORT) in 11th when he produced one of the best passing manoeuvres of the race to overtake VAN DOORNE. The Brazilian driver quickly followed this by taking full advantage of activating Attack Mode to pass Alexander SIMS (BMW ANDRETTI) and move up into 8th position.
Going into the final third of the race, running in 8th behind Mitch EVANS (JAGUAR RACING), everything was looking good for MASSA and the VENTURI Formula E Team looked set to finish in the points. Unfortunately, MASSA – along with a number of other drivers – was handed a drive through penalty for exceeding the permitted power regeneration so with just 11 minutes to spare until the chequered flag MASSA found himself back in 16th place. He used his last remaining Attack Mode to snatch a place back from Alexander SIMS (BMW Andretti), eventually crossing the line in 15th spot, only to be handed a 30 second penalty for triggering his Fan Boost too early leaving him to finish the race in 17th place.
Despite suffering further braking issues Edoardo MORTARA continued to push, using Attack Mode wherever possible, but he was unable to improve on his position and finished the race in 19th place.
“I felt very good for my first ever Formula E race. I’m happy with the strategy we adopted and pleased to have taken my overtaking opportunities. I used Attack Mode at the right times, had good pace and managed my energy well until the penalty. Overall, I really enjoyed driving the car and think I’ve showed my potential in Formula E. This weekend’s experience will serve us well for the next race. I’m eager to fight and get good results for the team. There are some great moments of racing ahead for us. I’m already looking forward to the next race in Marrakesh.”
Felipe MASSA, VENTURI Formula E Team driver
“Bad luck followed me around all day. I did the best I could with the brake issues. We’ll work hard over the next few weeks to resolve our challenges from today. One big positive is our speed in cornering. Today I could see that I was a lot quicker than the cars around me. Once we’ve sorted out our difficulties, I think we’ll be capable of challenging at the top of the table.”
Edoardo MORTARA, VENTURI Formula E Team driver
“It’s fair to say that it’s been a challenging day, especially with the unpredictable weather. We’re at the beginning of a long journey, the team is working well together and we’re learning as we go. I’m keen to see how we improve on the challenges from today in tomorrow’s test.”
Susie WOLFF, VENTURI Formula E Team Principal
The next race for VENTURI Formula E Team will be on Saturday 12 January 2019 in Marrakesh (Morocco).
+33 (0)6 40 61 00 80