Nyck de Vries’ place at the new-look Maserati MSG team looks set to be taken by Maximilian Guenther after the 2021 Formula E world champion was confirmed at AlphaTauri earlier this month.
De Vries activated an F1 release clause in his contract with Maserati MSG in order to join Yuki Tsunoda next season after signing a deal to race alongside Edoardo Mortara last summer.
Maserati MSG had been forming a ‘Plan B’ for its line-up in recent weeks after it became clear after the Italian Grand Prix last month that De Vries was likely to become a full-time F1 driver next year.
The Race understands Guenther emerged as a strong favourite earlier this month from a pool of drivers it was interested in that included Alex Lynn, Oliver Turvey and recent Alfa Romeo FP1 driver Theo Pouchaire.
The driving force behind the choice of Guenther is believed to have been the Maserati technical team, which is led by Jeremy Colancon.
Colancon engineered Sebastien Buemi to several E-Prix wins from 2016 to 2018 before joining Venturi where he quickly became the technical lead of the team, appointed as chief engineer in the summer of 2021.
It is unclear to what extent new team principal James Rossiter had in the recruitment, although he is known to rate Guenther.
The German parted ways with Nissan in August just before Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz were announced as the Japanese manufacturers’ drivers for the 2023 season.
He arrives at Maserati MSG as a three-time E-Prix winner after taking victories at Santiago and Berlin in 2020 and then at New York City in 2021 for the BMW i Andretti team.
But the German endured a difficult campaign with a largely uncompetitive Nissan IM03 last season, scoring just six points which were spread across a ninth- and eighth-place finish at Mexico City and New York respectively.
Maserati MSG is set to begin its on track preparations this month, with Edoardo Mortara expected to be given a run in the DS test and manufacturer car.
This car will continue testing in Spain this week with Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne expected to get time in the car. The new DS Penske entry was formally confirmed earlier this month.
It remains unclear when Guenther will be announced with Mortara at the new-look team but he is expected to get some running with DS ahead of the official Valencia promoter test days in mid-December.
Other teams in testing action recently include Jaguar, which ran at Calafat in early October where a severe accident for Sam Bird curtailed the test.
Mahindra will run Oliver Rowland this week, which will come a week after Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller got experience of the Mahindra powerunit that will power their ABT-run cars.
Porsche conducted several days at the Mallorca test track with new signing Antonio Felix da Costa joining Pascal Wehrlein in the car at the start of October.
Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis also got time in the car before heading to the US for his recent IndyCar test with Andretti.
Nissan ran at the Mallorca venue last week with both recent signings Nato and Fenestraz attending the test.