Felipe Massa signs his new contract with Formula E team Venturi
The Brazilian has signed a three-year deal with Monaco-based outfit Venturi, which is co-owned by Hollywood star Leonardo Di Caprio.
Massa will enter the Championship in Season 5 when Formula E relaunches with the futuristic Gen2 vehicle which will see the drivers take to the street tracks with a vehicle capable of a top speed of 280km/h, and enough battery capacity to complete an entire race at high performance.
He said: “For some years now, I’ve been clear about my interest in this innovative, forward-looking discipline that’s developing exponentially.
“I especially like the format of race meetings, the city-centre circuits and the contact with the fans.
“I’m very happy to be joining the Venturi Formula E Team and the Formula E championship, which has become a magnificent competition in such a short space of time. I can’t wait to take part in testing at the end of the month.
“The team is in a phase of growth and development. I’ll do everything I can to contribute to the project and hopefully I’ll be among the front runners.”
Venturi founder and president Gildo Pastor said: “It’s an honour to welcome Felipe to the Venturi family. I needed him, his experience, his speed, and his openness.
“Formula E is extremely complex to set up and drive. Even more so than in other disciplines, teamwork between the driver and the engineering team is one of the keys to success.
Felipe Massa was forced out of Williams F1 team at the end of 2017
“Felipe’s 15 years’ experience in Formula 1 will definitely give us a boost. And with his humble nature, I know he will listen to the team and master the discipline quickly.”
Venturi will host Massa in a private testing session at the end of the month where the 37-year-old will have to concentrate on getting comfortable with the feel of an electric vehicle, learning street tracks and studying a unique driving system which incorporates energy management.
Massa, who won 11 Grand Prix during his 15-season Formula One career, left Formula One in 2017 but had spoken openly of his interest in joining the electric street-racing series.
The Brazilian star was spotted at the inaugural Rome E-Prix in April where he tweeted his hope to be racing in the all-electric series in the next season.
Massa is the latest big name to arrive in Formula E, following former World Champion Nico Rosberg joining as an investor. The German will become the first driver to publicly demonstrate the Gen2 car at Saturday’s Berlin E-Prix.
Following the German leg, the Championship has just two more race weekends, with the season concluding with a double header in New York in July.