Felipe Massa’s Formula E career is likely to be over, as he will part with the Venturi team following the 2019/20 campaign.
The 2008 Formula 1 world championship runner-up was believed to have an option to drive for Venturi next season but in recent days it became clear it was unlikely to be exercised.
The official announcement of the split was made at the finish of the season finale in Berlin, where Massa came home 16th.
“The past two seasons have been a big learning curve for us all and unfortunately, for various reasons, we haven’t quite achieved what we hoped,” said Massa.
“Despite that, it’s been a lot of fun and I wish the team nothing but the very best of luck for the future.”
Massa first drove a Formula E car for Jaguar in 2017 but was announced at Venturi in May 2018. He immediately embarked on a lengthy test programme with what was then a largely in-house designed Venturi car for the first season of Gen2 racing in 2018/19.
An erratic first season for the Brazilian yielded 15th in the points standings, with a highlight being a third place at the 2019 Monaco EPrix.
That initial campaign produced flashes of strong form for Massa, who outqualified teammate Edoardo Mortara 7-6 over the course of a season generally sullied by poor reliability.
More was expected this season as Venturi became a powertrain customer of Mercedes but Massa’s form tailed off in comparison to his team-mate.
In addition, Massa crashed out of the Mexico City and first Berlin races, while other potentially strong races were compromised by an assortment of issues.
“For me, this is not fun. The races last year were much more fun than this year, and the rule changes have been a significant change for us” :: Felipe Massa
Team principal Susie Wolff, who had worked with Massa when he was a Williams F1 driver and she was part of the team’s testing roster, said he had “brought a lot” to the squad.
“Having someone of his profile, calibre and experience has been a big help in driving the team forward,” said Wolff.
“I have a huge amount of respect for Felipe. It’s been a joy working with him again and I wish him the very best for future.”
The Race understands that Venturi is likely to keep Mortara at the team but pair him up with a young driver that it can work with on a long-term basis.
Massa has appeared disillusioned with Formula E recently and described his experiences in a press conference held last week as “no fun.”
“The racing was more fun last year than this year,” said Massa.
“Especially with the safety car rules, because we have to change this and change that. We need to save so much energy, and you wouldn’t save the amount we have to in any other category.
“For me, this is not fun. The races last year were much more fun than this year, for me at least, and the rule changes have been a significant change for us in the cars. The drivers are here to race; the drivers are not here to calculate and to be engineers.
“We need to be drivers, and sometimes we cannot race because you are too busy focusing on calculating energy on every lap.
“For me, this is a bit of an issue because I can’t attack the car and go quick with it, which we do not do. I think we have gone past the limit of what a driver is expected to do.”
Venturi’s official reserve driver Norman Nato is believed to be under early consideration for a race seat next season.