Webber: Massa could help make Formula E 'sensational'


Former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber believes that Felipe Massa's decision to join the ABB Formula E championship next season could be a turning point in the success of the series.

The 37-year-old Brazilian won 11 Grand Prix races before retiring from F1 at the end of 2017. He had been in the sport for 15 years with Sauber, Ferrari and most recently Williams.

Last week it was announced that he was joining Leo Venturi team in a three-year deal starting with the 2018-9 season. He will take part in testing for the first time later this month.

Current Formula E star Oliver Turvey predicted that Massa would "definitely find it a challenge" to transfer his skills. But Webber had no such doubt, and reckoned that Massa could play an important role in boosting the all-electric championship's future.

"Yeah, it’s good," Webber told Motorsport Week when asked what he thought of Massa's decision.

"He’s obviously a top-flight driver," Webber continued. "He’s had an incredible Formula 1 career. I think it’s perfect that he has the chance to race in Formula E. He’s a real racer.

"He’ll race hard and it’s a brilliant opportunity for him to also help," Webber continued.

"The more drivers we can get like that, to even boost the quality of drivers we already have in Formula E, that’s going to be sensational."

The Formula E field already boasts seven former F1 drivers, including current championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne who drove for Toro Rosso. Sebastien Buemi was Formula E's second season champion, and Lucas di Grassi is the current title holder.

2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg has also lent his name to the series, although as a team owner rather than driver.

The German driver was behind the wheel of the series' new Gen2 car on Friday, in its first public outing through the streets of Berlin. The new car will replace the current Spark SRT 01E hardware which the series has used since its inception in 2014.

The new equipment, together with new rules and regulations coming into effect, will also see Formula E dispense with its trademark mid-race car swaps.

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