Wolff takes positives from ROKiT Venturi Racing’s 2019/20 ABB Formula E campaign

At the end of proceedings, after six intense days of racing over nine days for the ABB Formula E championship, it was yet again DS TECHEETAH who emerged victorious in both drivers’ and team standings – perhaps proving that there is a hierarchy emerging in this most competitive and engaging of motorsport series.

Of course, one will never know what may have happened had the COVID-19 pandemic caused such a hurried end to the season, with all races taking place on three different iterations of the Berlin Tempelhof circuit. For ROKiT Venturi Racing team principal Susie Wolff, although not the ideal end to the season, it was one the team adapted to with their typical enthusiasm and strong team spirit.

“Fatigue was starting to creep in with all the COVID-19 protocols that teams had to adhere to, and the fact that there were six races in nine days,” Wolff told Motorsport Technology. “But when you start going racing it’s amazing how everyone starts to find the motivation to get going. As a team we’re incredibly lucky that we have a good team spirit and that is what’s carried us through. It’s been a challenge, without a doubt, and very long hours with the lack of down time between races. But it has been the same for everybody, and we knew what the challenge was.”

Edoardo Mortara and Susie Wolff run through some final pre-race tactics in Berlin

Before teams went racing in Berlin, Edoardo Mortara finished a pleasing fifth in Marrakesh, and the team looked to be in good shape to fight it out in the midfield. And, although Mortara picked up points in three of the final rounds and Felipe Massa in round 9, it wasn’t quite enough for Venturi to overhaul Mahindra in the final classification.

“We’re not here to pick up the last points in the top ten, and we had certainly hoped for a lot more,” said a philosophical Wolff. “I think it’s about staying realistic and it’s super competitive here. We have seen it’s just one tenth, sometimes, between making Super Pole (as Mortara did in Berlin) and being P12, and it’s been very, very tight. We’ve certainly made some mistakes in the team which we have to iron out if we want to be consistent front runners but, in the end, we’ve shown our car has got pace and that’s what is important.”

Whilst things may not have gone entirely to plan on track during 2019/20, there were some big positives to emerge. Thanks to the work of Susie and others, the Monaco-based outfit is one of the most diverse teams in motorsport in terms of equal opportunity and, as such, is one of the most popular teams on the grid. It’s something Susie is particularly proud of.

“It’s something I’m very proud about, because in this day in age where we see so many people being passionate about change it’s all about action,” explains Wolff. “It’s easy to talk about what has to be done but it’s those who are making the changes that are making a difference. I put my money where my mouth is, I stand for diversity which is why initiated ‘girls on track’ with the FIA’s women in motorsport commission. I want to inspire the next generation and give women an opportunity to be in the sport.

“It’s not just about having women racing drivers, it’s about opening up all avenues in the sport. So very, very proud and lucky that the women in this team are fantastic in what they do, and I couldn’t wish for more.”

Another big positive that shows the ambitions of Venturi is their desire to hire the very best partners in order to gain a competitive edge. One of those is global leaders in cyber security and data protection Acronis, who have also helped champions DS TECHEETAH during the previous two seasons.

“Our partnership with Acronis has been massively important,” adds Wolff. “We have a reduced team here because of the COVID precautions in place we haven’t been able to bring our normal race team, so its reduced numbers. It means some of our engineers are in our Monaco HQ, which means getting the data to them and getting a quick response is vital to our performance.

“Of course, that includes the rest of the data we are generating here, which is obviously data we want to make sure is not at risk or landing in the wrong hands. We are generating huge volumes of data, so Acronis is vitally important in making sure the protection is there both at the circuit and at HQ and, ultimately, that keeps us performing.”

Susie Wolff analyses vital data in the ROKiT Venturi Racing garage

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.