Mortara: Venturi team relaxed too much following Hong Kong victory
Following his team’s slow start to the season, Mortara secured a podium finish in Mexico before being awarded his and Venturi’s first ever race win in Hong Kong following Sam Bird’s post-race penalty for an incident with Andre Lotterer.
Mortara though believes there are lessons to be learned in how to build on such a result and has urged his team to continue working as hard it was when trying to resolve its issues earlier in the season.
“I think as a team, [the win in Sanya] was actually not so good,” said Mortara.
“In the first race weekends we were suffering from a lot of issues, a lot of problems, we had many problems with the software and we had to work a lot to resolve all these issues
“We were improving quite a lot in the car, and then we finally had this incredible victory, especially for the team after four or five years. Unfortunately when you tend to have good results, I think it’s human, you tend to think that maybe you don’t need to work as hard as when you are having a lot of issues.”
Mortara added that the following race in Sanya, where he and team-mate Felipe Massa finished 13th and 10th respectively, was potentially the result that was needed to ensure the team remained in ‘fighting mode’ during the second half of this season.
“Probably we relaxed a bit too much [after the Hong Kong victory]. We had one of the most difficult weekends [in Sanya] since the start of the season,” said Mortara.
“We didn’t really exploit the car in Sanya, but I think that it was also quite positive because now we are back in fighting mode. We understood what we did wrong, and I hope that we can improve even more.
Despite recent results moving Mortara to within 10 points of the drivers’ championship lead, the Swiss-Italian maintains that he’s still an outsider for the title because Venturi lack the consistency right now of the teams ahead.
“I don’t see ourselves as a title contender,” said Mortara.
“You shouldn’t forget that we are the smallest team fighting against big manufacturers. We had a very strong first half of this season, but we were not so consistent. I think in order to be a contender you need to be more consistent.
“Nevertheless, we keep on working, we keep on fighting and you never know, you never know especially in motorsport [but] at the moment, especially after a race like Sanya, it’s difficult for me to say that I am a title contender.”
With Mortara currently outscoring his team-mate, 11-time F1 race winner Massa, talk has intensified that the Mercedes-backed driver could be about to switch teams when the German manufacturer enters the championship with its own team next season.
Mortara tested the Mercedes Formula E car recently, but for now, he’s remaining tight-lipped over where his future could be.
“It’s not up to me, it’s not my decision to stay in the Venturi team or go to Mercedes. This is something that you need to ask probably to Susie [Wolff] or [HWA boss] Ulrich Fritz.
“I’m already a Mercedes driver so it’s up to them to choose who they want to put in their car. The only thing that I can tell you for me it doesn’t really matter if I’m in a Mercedes or if I’m in a Venturi, as long as I can have a competitive car, all I want to do is win races.”
Image Credit: Formula E