Venturi promotes reserve driver Nato in place of Massa

Formula E

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Monaco-based Formula E team Venturi have announced its former reserve driver Norman Nato as the replacement for Felipe Massa, who left the team immediately after this year’s Berlin finale.

Team principal Susie Wolff said Nato’s commitment and contribution to the team’s development, as reserve driver, were what had finalised the decision to promote him.

“As our reserve driver Norman has proven his ability at every available opportunity, not only showing speed during in-season testing but also demonstrating clear commitment to his role in our simulator,” she said. “The decision to promote him to a full-time race seat is indicative of his contribution to the team so far – he has earned the opportunity to show us what he can do behind the wheel.”

Nato became Venturi’s reserve driver in 2018 and has dovetailed his commitments with an endurance racing programme. He drove for a selection of LMP2 teams during 2018 and earned a full-season drive with Rebellion in WEC for 2019, in the car that placed second at this year’s Le Mans.

Prior to his move into sports cars, Nato raced three seasons of GP2 (which became F2 during his time in the championship), with a best finish of fifth place in the 2016 championship and three race wins across the seasons.

Venturi fielded Nato for the 2019 and 2020 Marrakech rookie tests. He finished this year’s test sixth overall, and 0.774s ahead of Arthur Leclerc in the other Venturi.

“To secure a full-time race seat with the team for season seven is a great step forward and I can’t wait to show what we can achieve together,” said Nato, “Over the past two years, we have built very solid foundations and we share the same bright ambitions for the future. I would like to thank Susie and the team for believing in my abilities and giving me this opportunity to race in the FIA Formula E world championship.”

Nato will join Edoardo Mortara, who has driven for Venturi since 2017. The former Mercedes DTM driver took Venturi’s first race win at the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix and scored all but three of the team’s 44 points last season.

Former F1 driver Massa had been with the team for two seasons, scoring a single podium finish in the 2019 Monaco EPrix. His departure was announced as the chequered flag fell on the final Berlin race this year.

There had been speculation Leclerc might step up to drive for the Monagasque team but the decision was made to reward Nato for his longstanding role at Venturi, which has included simulation and testing work since 2018.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 8 comments on “Venturi promotes reserve driver Nato in place of Massa”

    1. Which Leclerc. I doubt Charles.

      1. @jerejj Arthur Leclerc, as it says above – he’s a member of Venturi’s driver academy.

        1. @hazelsouthwell Oh, I didn’t notice that immediately.

    2. Every F1 driver should drive a formula E car in one race per season and the points earned should go towards their F1 title points!

      1. Yes and on a narrow circuit with 9 hairpins surrounded by catch fencing and have someone making a ‘wheeeeee’ noise in their headphones.

        They would never moan again.

    3. Or there could be a Multi Discipline World Championship, something like a very big brother of ROC, the drivers of it would race at some F1, F2 (or even F3) races, Formula E, WRC weekends, ice races like the ones at Andros Trophy (probably Andros is too small compared to the former ones, but depends on how much multi discipline it wants to be), some races of the World Endurance Chamiponship (one or two races at hypercars, LMP2, and even at GTE-Pro), some serious TC races from DTM, or WTCR. As it would put a lot of strain on some drivers with already quite full caledar (like F1 drivers), probably the “seasons” of MDWC could last longer than 1 calendar year (2 at least :), but if it lasts much longer then there would be problems with predictability for the entrants). The races where the entrants boost the regular grid of the aforementioned series would be selected by some committé to have multiple track characteristics even from the same base series, like they would choose an oval race from Indy, and a race on road course from Indy as well. Having a season longer than 1 year would help the entrants to take it more serious. And it would be nice to see some drivers at F2 and F3 who already achieved great success elsewhere, their occasional participation would boost the prestiege of the feeder series, and would bring the older days back a bit, when those championships were not almost exclusively feeder series. So it maybe not sounds that serious, but it could be entertaining and it could could be serious if it’s done well, so somewhat I like the idea.

      1. great idea!

      2. Thank you macradar! Although I have already found some problems to solve around it: for example at WEC multiple drivers used to share the car, and therefore the results as well, so those results should be translated somehow, and some teams should be formed, to make pairs or trios of the entrants. Without WEC it would be possible to do it with one-driver-teams, and that would be much simpler, but without WEC we would loose lots of categories. And of course there are a lot of interesting and still quite conventional series which I forgot to mention, like WRX, and Australian Supercars, and who knows :)

    Comments are closed.