Edo Mortara: 'Ups and downs early in the season have taught us a lot'

Edo Mortara sits best placed of the 'customers' in the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The ROKiT Venturi Racing man’s early-season performances set a benchmark that’s steered him on-course for a highest finish to-date in the all-electric street racing series.

Mortara sits an impressive eighth in the Drivers’ standings, just four points behind the factory Mercedes-Benz EQ of Stoffel Vandoorne in his customer, ROKiT Venturi Racing-run Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01.

More to come

Despite the strong-looking first half of the season, Edo remains pragmatic with ‘no extra pressure’ on his shoulders heading to Berlin on August 5 for the nine-day six-race showdown at Tempelhof. In fact, he highlights room for improvement, with learnings made from mistakes early in the campaign.

“There’s no extra pressure on me,” he said. “We’re speaking about championship position but that comes as a result of the entire package of team, car and driver.

“What I’m looking for are good performances as a driver and we will see then when we end up. We have had to learn a lot through a number of ups and downs with mistakes made earlier in the season.

“For me, we are looking to finish with a better base for next season.”

Round 2 from Diriyah - Mortara's best finish to-date in 2019/20.

Points and promise

Early season promise, with seventh and fourth in the double-header from Diriyah after a third super-pole appearance of his Formula E career saw him seal a place in Venturi’s history books as its most successful driver to-date.

He’d already taken the most victories and podiums for the Monegasque outfit but topped Stephane Sarrazin’s previous 94-point tally with the team in Saudi Arabia.

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Santiago looked as if it would be more of the same for the Swiss-Italian, with seventh on the grid an encouraging start in Chile. From there, he fired up the order to fifth within a lap and had his eyes on the battle for the podium – latching on to the top three, though not without a forceful move on team-mate Felipe Massa whose gesticulations suggested Mortara’s elbows were firmly out.

Contact from Antonio Felix da Costa in the DS Techeetah at the same spot, in even hardier style, ended Mortara’s charge, however, and forced the Venturi driver into retirement.

“I made a good start to the race and was battling for a place on the podium until I had slight contact with Antonio,” he said post-race. “That broke my front-right suspension which meant that I couldn’t continue. It was an eventful race but we had the pace to score good points.”

The 33-year-old wasn’t shifted off-course by that misfortune, though, and headed to Mexico looking to replicate the pace he’d shown throughout the opening rounds. Duly, he managed just that.

Drama in Santiago! Edo and Antonio Felix da Costa come to blows...

Mortara set the benchmark in practice and, after qualifying 12th, he sealed eighth spot, edging Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s James Calado across the line for another strong points-haul.

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Momentum was now building for Edo, and in metronomic fashion, he extracted the maximum out of the package beneath him to take fifth in Marrakesh – leaving him seventh in the standings heading into Berlin on August 5.

Into the unknown

Having ended 2018/19 in 14th spot, it’s looking promising so far this time around for Mortara, but the spanner in all 24 drivers’ works is the prospect of something entirely unlike anything else in motorsport with six races in nine short days on three circuit layouts around the iconic Tempelhof Airport.

“With a lot of races in a very short space of time it’s going to be difficult for us all, but not impossible,” Mortara added. “The engineers and mechanics will also be challenged given they’ll have to prepare the cars and turn them around quickly – especially if there are crashes or any mechanical issues.

“It’s the same for everyone though. We need to work on identifying problems quickly and find immediate solutions with so little time between races.

Edo Mortara Venturi Formula E

“Preparation will also be key – the more you do, the less you struggle. It’ll be even more important in Berlin as we try to preempt scenarios and work through possibilities. We’ll spend time in the simulator to get us in the best shape.

“We have been limited in testing as a customer team for this year. So, we don’t get the test days we had before and that the manufacturers do.

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“That’s not helping right now because wherever you have the possibility – and with a big break – you want to test to start the second half of the season a little better and more prepared. Unfortunately for us, it’s not the case. We will work in the simulator and that will help us best prepare.

“Points are the aim. We can do it and it should always be our aim, depending on the championship situation and how we qualify.

“There may be opportunities to do even better than that but at the moment, I’m just looking for points in each of the six races. I’m still looking for an outright highlight of the season, so hopefully we get that in Berlin!”