Di Grassi linked to replacing Nato at Venturi Formula E team

Formula E rookie Norman Nato is facing increased pressure to hold onto his seat at Venturi Racing and partner race winner Edoardo Mortara for the 2022 season, Motorsport.com understands. 

Nato was promoted from his reserve driver role at the squad for the 2021 term to replace 11-time Formula 1 race winner Felipe Massa after the Brazilian’s two underwhelming seasons in the series. 

Nato currently sit 21st in the standings, while teammate Mortara occupies ninth after his podium and victory in Puebla, as fellow rookies Jake Dennis and Nick Cassidy rank fourth and seventh. 

With its current Mercedes powertrain customer deal, Venturi Racing has become an increasingly desirable option on the grid and Nato’s position is under review ahead of the season finale in Berlin. 

Asked about the future Venturi Racing driver line-up at the London E-Prix last month, team principal Susie Wolff told Motorsport.com: “That's going to be a decision we'll have to take pretty quickly after Berlin. 

“We have the situation now where unfortunately one car is pretty high up in the table. The other isn't. 

Nato lost two possible podiums due to penalties, having been disqualified from the second Rome race for exceeding energy limits before losing third place in Valencia to a five-second reprimand for knocking Alex Lynn into a spin. 

Wolff continued: “I think Norman has done a good job for being a rookie. He could have got podiums in Rome and Valencia, which is pretty strong for a first season. 

“But I've got to deliver a good teams’ championship, and that takes two cars to score good points.  

“Certainly, at the end of the season, we'll have to sit down and go 'OK, do we have a situation between the drivers that is maximising the points?'.  

“If we've got one car [high] and one car [low], it's very difficult for the teams' championship.” 

Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Lucas di Grassi, the 2016-17 champion, has been linked as a possible replacement for Nato. 

This follows Audi’s decision to exit Formula E at the end of the current season combined with the recent collapse of the privateer replacement Abt entry. 

Abt had initially attempted to take over the Audi licence before the deadline for the franchise to change hands elapsed and the entry fell back into central Formula E ownership. 

The long-standing DTM outfit then attempted another takeover but that has been massively stymied in recent months due to commercial limitations.  

However, Di Grassi - who along with Venturi Racing is based on Monaco - still rates his chances of remaining on the grid for 2022 as “over 90 percent”. 

“Thing are looking quite good that I will stay here next season," he told Motorsport.com. “My main option was to stay with Abt. This is what I always thought of doing when Audi decided to leave.  

“As everything is looking less likely, I have had to look at other options. My options are a bit limited but if I would like to say a probability of staying here, I would say over 90 percent.”  

shares
comments

Related video

Formula E to run Berlin circuit in reverse for season finale

Previous article

Formula E to run Berlin circuit in reverse for season finale

Next article

Porsche FE team keeps Lotterer, Wehrlein for 2022

Porsche FE team keeps Lotterer, Wehrlein for 2022
Load comments
How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Prime

How Mercedes and de Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin.

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning Prime

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep di Grassi winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021
The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure Prime

The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure

Mercedes' planned withdrawal from Formula E at the end of the 2022 season will contribute to the big hole left by fellow automotive manufacturers Audi and BMW on their departures. Although the team may stick around under a different guise, the exit of the now-reigning teams' champion underlines FE's current issues...

Formula E
Aug 18, 2021
The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion Prime

The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion

After clinching the Formula E title at the Berlin finale, Nyck de Vries is a driver in demand. Although Mercedes would love to keep a reigning champion at the team, the allure of a Williams F1 drive may be too much for de Vries to ignore should a potential deal come to pass

Formula E
Aug 17, 2021
How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms Prime

How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms

As Formula E lined up to complete its seventh season at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, all eyes were on who would be its first official FIA world champion. Despite Nyck de Vries' title lead heading into the weekend looking all but secure, the Dutchman held on - and enjoyed a good dollop of fortune - to secure a championship double for Mercedes

Formula E
Aug 16, 2021
Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row Prime

Why Audi was right and wrong in Formula E's loophole row

OPINION: With Audi's Formula E exit imminent, it had nothing to lose in London by attempting to vault Lucas di Grassi into the lead by pitting him under the safety car. Scorn directed at the team for putting glory before ethics should instead be pointed at a rulebook that allowed such a move in the first place.

Formula E
Jul 28, 2021
Why Formula E's London return delivered anarchy in the UK Prime

Why Formula E's London return delivered anarchy in the UK

Formula E landed for a London E-Prix for the first time since 2016, at the indoor-outdoor circuit around the ExCeL. Featuring the birth of renewed title pushes, a long-awaited maiden win and the second race's controversy, the round proved to be an exhibition of the electric series' anarchic nature.

Formula E
Jul 26, 2021
Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success Prime

Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success

It's commonly upheld as the most straightforward method of racking up titles. But, due to the unique qualifying format used in Formula E, a consistent approach can actively work against a driver and make their life harder in races. So with four races to go, is now the time to ditch the tried-and-tested approach for a win-or-bust mentality?

Formula E
Jul 23, 2021