Mercedes DTM drivers Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel have been confirmed at Venturi for Season 4.
The German marque announced their intent to leave DTM and redirect their focus to Formula E at the end of last season, seeking a Season 5 entry. With both Venturi drivers confirmed as from their works team, that looks set to be either in partnership with the Monegasque team or as a direct takeover.
Engel entered Formula E last year, at the same time as returning to DTM for Mercedes, while Mortara transferred from Abt Sportsline Audi to a Mercedes works drive in the series. DTM is known as the series in which the German marque like to make drivers prove themselves – and the manufacturer managed to pull Engel away from his Formula E duties in Paris in order to complete the season.
— Maro Engel (@MaroEngel) October 20, 2017
Both drivers look set to compete in Formula E and DTM this year, which means it may not be the end of the line for the other Venturi testers, depending on schedule clashes.
Venturi previously confirmed Moroccan Michael Benyahia as their test and development driver. With a disrupted driver lineup last year when Tom Dillman initially stepped in for Engel in Paris and then took over Stéphane Sarrazin’s drive when he departed for Techeetah, the team will be looking for a more stable year of development.
Speaking to us at testing, Engel said that despite some faulty parts in the package the team brought to Valencia, significant steps forward had been made, “It’s been a very good, strong development period so we know we’re making strong progress, so I’m feeling pretty confident that we’ve made a good step forwards, so the interesting part will be seeing in Hong Kong where everyone stacks up.”
Venturi endured their worst ever Formula E results last season, scoring just 30 points and no podiums to finish just ahead of rookies Jaguar. With an average gap to the fastest lap of each day of testing close to two seconds, they may not yet have resolved Season 3’s woes, however with a dedicated test and development role the high performance electric vehicle manufacturer – and electric land speed record holder – look serious about pushing their Formula E programme forward. What part Mercedes plays in that remains to be fully seen.