Venturi Grand Prix - One of the electric racing pioneers
The Venturi Grand Prix is the team that competes in the FIA Formula E World Championship since the first day of the series.
Founded in 1984, revamped in 2011
Venturi Formula E team is the part of Venturi Automobiles Group which was founded in 1984. Since 2001 the team’s headquarter is Monaco. That year local businessman Gildo Pallanca Pastor acquired the assets and saved the firm which struggled financially. He made a decision that the company should focus on low-volume, high-tech electric cars what later proved as a perfect preparation for the Formula E.
After constructing many electric vehicles over the years, including the sensational VBB3 ‘rocket’ which holds the Electric Land Speed record, in December of 2013 was announced the creation of the Venturi Grand Prix Team. Interestingly, one of the team’s founders together with Pallanca Pastor was famous actor Leonardo Di Caprio. In May 2014, the first electric single-seater was unveiled while Venturi Grand Prix opened its new facilities.
Slow first season in the Formula E
Venturi was one of 10 pioneer teams in the first all-electric competition under the FIA’s umbrella. In 2014-2015, the inaugural season of the Formula E Championship, the team used Spark-Renault chassis while the experienced Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin were named as drivers. The results in the first season weren’t impressive. Venturi finished on the penultimate 9th position in the Teams’ Championship, Heidfeld and Sarrazin were 12th and 14th respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.
The individual best result was the 3rd place won by Heidfeld in the race in Moscow. Sarrazin won the final race of the season in London but later was penalized for exceeding the maximum energy usage and stayed without a victory.
New chassis for the new season
For the 2015-2016 season Venturi developed its own chassis and results improved a bit. Venturi also supplied its technology to Dragon Racing Formula E team. Sarrazin stayed with the team and did very well as he scored points in each race. His best result was the 2nd place at Long Beach ePrix while at the end of the season he was 6th in the standings.
Former Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve started the season in the team’s second car but after the third round of the campaign was replaced with Mike Conway who scored modest results. However, Venturi progressed to the 6th place in the Teams’ Championship and looked forward to going further in the following years.
Still waiting for the maiden victory
Sarrazin was retained for a third season while the second driver became Maro Engel, the experienced GT cars pilot. Unfortunately, in the first half of the 2016-2017 season Sarrazin wasn’t able to repeat the results from the previous campaign while Engel’s performances were marked by ups and downs. Surprisingly, Stephane Sarrazin left the team in the middle of the season and was replaced by Esteban Gutierrez from the Berlin ePrix and onwards.
“It’s very important for the Principality of Monaco, one of the most important motorsport spots in the world, to have a Formula E team that is racing all around the world,” explains Franck Baldet, Venturi’s Chief Technical Officer.