Di Grassi joins Venturi for 2022 Formula E season

Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi has been unveiled as a Venturi Racing driver for the 2022 season alongside Edoardo Mortara, in his first move since Audi quit the championship. 

Di Grassi’s switch to the Mercedes powertrain customer squad leaves Berlin E-Prix race winner Norman Nato out of a drive after his rookie year. 

However, it will ensure that 2016-17 title winner di Grassi will maintain his status as one of two drivers with an unbroken record of participation in FE since the series' inception, along with Jaguar's Sam Bird.

Di Grassi insisted he would stay in Formula E following the news of Audi's exit, but his chances of remaining on the grid took a blow when Abt’s plan to take over the manufacturer's entry was kiboshed after a commercial deal fell apart. 

His representatives opened talks with several teams, including Andretti Autosport, before di Grassi entered the frame to replace under pressure Nato, as first reported by Motorsport.com last month

Di Grassi said: “Anyone who knows me knows how competitive I am. Driving for a team that I know can fight at the front and really challenge for the championship is essential for me.  

"[Venturi] performed very, very well last season [finishing seventh in the standings]. You can see that the team has progressed a lot in recent years. The momentum is really there, and they have shown clear improvements in every area.  

“Edo had a fantastic season, really strong, he was fighting for the title until the very end and there were many times over the season that I was racing both Venturi cars and I could see how competitive they were.” 

Although no details have been publicly disclosed about the length of di Grassi’s contract, it is likely to be only a one-year agreement initially. 

Should Abt assemble an entry in time for the Gen3 era beginning in 2022-23, di Grassi would likely return. 

Nato is yet to agree a deal to resume his previous role as Venturi’s reserve driver, but team principal Susie Wolff says she has given him permission to enter talks with other outfits.  

His win at Tempelhof Airport came too late last season to save his seat as the double title-winning Mercedes customer powertrain made Venturi Racing an increasingly appealing prospect for drivers. 

Wolff added: “Last season we demonstrated that we have a strong package. There were many highlights throughout the season starting with a podium and finishing with a win.  

“Edo showcased to everyone what we have known all along - that he’s a world championship contender. [He and di Grassi] will push each other and drive us forward as a team.   

“To have both cars scoring points in every race is essential for us for the teams’ championship and with our new driver line-up, there’s a lot to feel optimistic about.”

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