June 26, 2018 / 7:38 PM / 5 months ago

Motor racing-Susie Wolff becomes principal of the Venturi Formula E team

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Former Williams F1 test driver Susie Wolff, whose husband Toto runs Formula One world champions Mercedes, was named on Tuesday as principal and a shareholder of the Monaco-based Venturi Formula E team.

The team will have Brazilian Felipe Massa, who was Wolff's team mate at Williams and retired from F1 last year, as one of their drivers when the new season five starts in Saudi Arabia in December.

Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio is also a co-founder of the team.

Wolff retired as a professional driver at the end of 2015, after taking part in two grand prix practice sessions for Williams, and Venturi is the Scot's debut in team management and ownership.

"I knew that I wanted to continue with the challenge of competitive racing, just not behind the wheel," said the 35-year-old, who has focused recently on the Dare to be Different programme aimed at encouraging women into motorsport.

"You can’t just switch off your competitive instincts when you stop driving and that determination and desire to achieve still burn brightly inside me," she added in a statement.

Mercedes are due to enter Formula E in season six, which starts at the end of next year.

Venturi will be supplying powertrains to the new HWA team next season, a Mercedes affiliate which has run the manufacturer's cars in the German Touring Car (DTM) championship.

"This is not linked to Mercedes and Toto," Wolff told the BBC of her new position.

"I was always very clear when I took some time out to start a family that I wanted to come back and get my teeth into something and of course I could not work for Toto or a competing manufacturer.

"I've had a front-row seat as he has led the Mercedes F1 team very successfully and it became clear to me that I wanted to stay within motorsport." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by...)

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