ROKiT Venturi Racing is aiming to turn its podium pace into a trip to the podium at this weekend (May 8) Monaco E-Prix, with the Monegasque outfit racing in its own back yard.
ROKiT Venturi Racing is the only race team based in Monaco, in Fontevielle, just around the corner from the legendary streets the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will be commandeering this weekend on the full, historic Monte Carlo circuit layout.
So, Team Principal Susie Wolff is aiming to make good on the squad's Season 7 promise on home turf, pleased with the step in performance Venturi has made this year - 10th in the standings at the moment, but just nine shy of fifth-placed Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in a packed midfield.
As special as racing in Monaco is for any driver or team, Wolff reinforced that this is just another weekend in terms of the points up for grabs and full focus is on getting the fundamentals just right. Felipe Massa's Season 5 silverware here for the outfit shows what's possible for Venturi in its backyard.
"I think we’ve made a big step forward from last season and the most important thing is that the pace is there – the rest we can get right," said Wolff. "Norman (Nato) had a difficult start in Saudi Arabia, but has absolutely shown he deserves his chance in Formula E. To have not stood on the podium yet but to have finished third and second on-track, I think his time will come, for sure.
"With Felipe’s podium last time we raced here in Season 5 we know how good it feels to taste success on home turf," continues Wolff. "It’s special for us to be here and I’m really looking forward to seeing these cars racing on this iconic circuit. It feels like a very special moment for Formula E, too. It’s the jewel in the crown of motorsport, and our Formula E headquarters are just around the corner as the only Monegasque race team in the world.
"As special as it is to be racing at home, in the same sentence it’s business as usual. We’ve got no shakedown, so it’s going to be absolutely vital to make sure we have no errors tomorrow and try to put a clean day together. Sometimes that can be out of your control in Formula E, so you have to take the knocks and pick yourself back up quickly."
Frenchman and Monaco resident Norman Nato has so far impressed across the six rounds of Season 7 - Formula E's first as an FIA World Championship. A prospective podium was cruelly torn from his grasp coming out of the final corner in just his fourth race in the series, in Rome, with his usable energy ticking over to 0.0 per cent - incurring a penalty which excluded him from the final results.
In Valencia, Nato again ran at the sharp end, this time seeing second slip away after being penalised for nudging Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn into the gravel - a move he admitted was maybe a little overzealous. Despite the disappointment, and occupying a lowly 23rd position in the Drivers' standings, Nato sees the pace in himself and in the car and will go again this weekend, with both he and the team learning and making encouraging progress during the first half of the season.
"It’s frustrating because when you cross the line and have the feeling that you did the job and at the end you’re not on the podium – but that’s racing," says the 28-year-old.
"I’m a rookie and it’s my first season. In Diriyah I wanted to take time to learn everything and not make mistakes and maybe I was a little bit too conservative. By the time it came to Rome, I’d realised that if you want to fight for position, you have to take a few more risks and maybe accept that you’ll make a mistake.
"We showed in Rome that we could mix it with the top teams and drivers and that was a confidence boost – it showed that we have a good car. In testing, the base performance was quite interesting and we’ve shown it’s strong and we’re improving on energy management.
"We’re learning and improving and crossing the line second and ending up fifth in the end doesn’t really matter to me – I prefer to show that we have the performance and that we’re improving, instead of finishing ninth and scoring a couple of points. We know that a podium is there if we keep working."
Venturi's Swiss racer Edo Mortara sits ninth in the Drivers' running having taken second in the Diriyah opener, fourth in Round 4 from Rome and a couple more points in Round 6 at Valencia.
He's well placed, just seven points back from Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) and the top five. This weekend, he knows the team can fight at the front.
"We know that we have a strong car this season, and if we can perform well in qualifying, I think we’ll be able to fight at the front and hopefully, deliver a good result.”
Published on 7th May 2021