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Formula 1

Venturi Formula E team under new majority ownership

by Sam Smith
3 min read

The ROKiT Venturi Formula E team is under new majority stake-holding ownership after a recent completion of a deal with a party that includes the son of former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar.

The investment group, which is led by José Maria Aznar Botella and Scott Swid, has acquired a significant investment in the Monegasque team, which will remain unchanged from a principal naming and senior staffing point of view.

Team principal Susie Wolff and team founder Gildo Pastor will retain an interest in the team as managing partners, while recently announced deputy team principal Jerome d’Ambrosio will continue to work alongside Wolff.

Swid and Aznar Botella, who is also the step-brother of Formula E co-founder and current chairman Alejandro Agag, have previously worked in and owned several venture capital companies.

They initially looked at investing in Formula 1 but Swid believes that Formula E has more business opportunity in the future.

“Initially, we were looking at Formula 1 from an investment perspective,” he said.

“But understandably José is a big believer in the potential of Formula E and introduced me to Susie. From our first meeting, I could see the unique business case the sport and the team present.”

Norman Nato and Edoardo Mortara, Venturi, Formula E

ROKiT Venturi will continue to be a powertrain customer of Mercedes through to the end of the current ruleset and is already known to be looking at firming up plans for Gen 3, which will kick off at the end of 2022.

Answering a question posed by The Race during a recent media session, Swid said that the relationship with the German OEM was “incredibly important that we’re with Mercedes, because we have a huge company behind us that’s committed to winning.”

“I don’t think that they’re ever going to be satisfied. They’re going to keep driving to create value, and we’re partners with them. So who wouldn’t want that,” continued Swid.

Wolff acknowledged that the strategic partnership with Mercedes was a central part of the team. Now and in the future.

“It was a very strategic decision of ours to switch to Mercedes Benz power at the end of season five, because we could see with the entry of Mercedes and Porsche into the championship, and it was ratcheting up a level in terms of competitiveness,” she told The Race.

“Obviously, with my family connection, there’s a great partnership with Mercedes Benz, but we also have a great working relationship with Mercedes Benz.

“And for us, it’s obviously a great strategic partnership because our main focus for season seven is without a doubt on-track success.”

Edoardo Mortara, Venturi, Formula E

The news comes a year after first discussions were held between the parties about a possible acquisition. It is believed that Venturi has spoken to several parties previously including, as revealed by The Race in October, with current Aston Martin Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll.

Stroll, who also held talks with Techeetah about an investment last year, and Aston Martin executives are forming future plans for the Lagonda brand, which is set to be the luxury electric arm of the group in the future.

Last week Stroll told The Financial Times that future branding in electric vehicle programmes would be a key factor for the automotive industry.

“The differentiator will be the brand — brands will become critical when we get into the electric,” said Stroll.

In October Aston Martin unveiled a new cooperation with Mercedes-Benz which is planned to alleviate its investment in new EV expertise. The plans, which furthers its relationship with Mercedes-Benz, will see various powertrain technology available to it for future projects.

The deal was partly financed by Zelon Holdings, a European family office which according to an Aston Martin statement in October ‘will help provide access to a range of world-class technologies, including powertrain architecture (for conventional, hybrid, and electric vehicles) and future oriented electric/electronic architecture, for all product launches through to 2027.’

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