With FIA Formula E pre-season testing taking place in Valencia at the start of this month, it was noted that former Venturi driver Tom Dillmann had not been allocated any time for testing with the team, or any other team for that matter.
He had jumped into the Formula E championship in Paris during season three despite minimal testing of any kind, finished his debut race in the points, continuing to impress in the Venturi until the season finale in Montreal. His performance in a car that had struggled all season must have been fustrating, however he carried on testing for the Monaco-based Formula E team over the summer months. So when it was confirmed that Dillmann would not be present at the pre-season testing, you can see why I was surprised to find him standing outside rival team garage Techeetah in the Valencia sun.
“We are looking to pull something together,” Dillmann starts, as I question him about his future within Formula E, “but it doesn’t look like I will drive with Venturi.”
“Obviously I was quite close with Venturi and then this news [about there being no testing opportunity] came quite late, so for me to find a race seat now is almost impossible. I could maybe stay on as third driver and see what opportunities there are.”
Talk of the Venturi team being bought up by a manufacturer is hot gossip in the Formula E paddock and as a result Dillmann said he was uncertain that a long-time race seat for him with the team is a possibility: “there might be a manufacturer coming in and therefore they might want to put in their own driver.” This rumour of a manufacturer buying up the team is something that Venturi themselves have played down several times, however with their lack of performance in the championship, being bought up could be the right decision long-term for the team.
As for his impressive start to his Formula E career, it is clear that Dillmann is keen to stay on in the all-electric championship.
“It was not easy to jump into Formula E like that. I had no testing and I progressed every weekend. I hope to continue although I am open to everything in racing. I have raced in GT as well.
“The key is to try and get that third driver seat in a team where there is an opportunity to maybe race one day and see where it goes from there. I mean with Venturi I started as a reserve and I finished the season as a driver.”
Venturi will be confirming their driver line up tomorrow, Friday 20th October. Having tested Mercedes DTM driver Edoardo Mortara and Lexus Super GT driver James Rossiter in the pre-season testing, there is a strong possibility that one of these two drivers will join season three driver Maro Engel at Venturi for season four.
It has yet to be confirmed if Dillmann will have any role in Formula E in season four onwards.