By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer
After fielding both drivers during preseason testing in Valencia earlier this month, Venturi confirmed on Friday that Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel will fill the team’s driver lineup for the 2017-18 FIA Formula E season.
The announcement brings two drivers of similar background to the Monegasque organization – both Mortara and Engel were both previously fielded by Mercedes DTM.
“The Formula E World Championship grows bigger everyday,” Venturi president Gilda Pallanca Pastor said in a release. “That’s why the 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.”
The 30-year-old Mortara comes to Formula E after a difficult one-year tenure with Mercedes in DTM. After a second-place run in the series for Audi in 2016, Mortara struggled en-route to a disappointing 14th-place result for the Silver Arrows last season.
Mortara’s career includes seven seasons in DTM, with experience in Formula 3 before he joined the German touring series. The Swiss shoe began testing with Venturi in Aug., shortly after Mercedes’ July announcement that they intend to leave DTM outright following the 2018 season.
He’ll make his FE debut in the season-opening Hong Kong E-Prix.
Engel returns for his second FE season after a 17th-place rookie season in 2016-17 that saw him score a career-best finish of fifth in the all-electric series’ return to Monaco.
Mortara’s addition came at the expense of Stephane Sarrazin, whom has officially left Venturi after a three-year tenure with the organization that included one pole and three podiums with a best finish of sixth (2015-16) in the series standings. The Frenchman’s future plans are unknown at this time.
The team released the following statement on Sarrazin’s leave:
“Stephane Sarrazin has been with the Venturi team since it was established. This enjoyable and productive collaboration has lasted three seasons, the best performance of which was a second place finish at Long Beach in 2016. That same year, the Alés native earned sixth place in the championship.
“Stephane has now decided to take his driving career in a new direction. Venturi wishes him every success as he embarks on these fresh new challenges.”