Rewind to the 11th of January 2022, a day that marked a significant announcement in the world of motorsport. After a hiatus of 66 years, Maserati declared their return to single-seater racing, much to the excitement of fans and enthusiasts. The chosen destination for their comeback was Formula E, just in time for the start of the Gen3 era in 2023.
In April 2022, Venturi Racing confirmed a rebranding exercise, transforming into MSG (Monaco Sports Group) Racing after the conclusion of season eight. The exciting part of this rebrand was the partnership between Maserati and MSG Racing, resulting in the birth of Maserati MSG Racing.
With a strong performance in pre-season testing, where Maximilian Günther consistently topped the charts, Maserati was poised for success. The team was predicted to be a serious contender for the championship title. However, as the first race of season nine approached in Mexico City, the team faced a setback. Despite their impressive testing results, Günther and Edoardo Mortara failed to progress beyond the preliminary rounds, finishing in P16 and P17 respectively. The discrepancy between their testing performance and race results was glaring. The opening race itself was underwhelming, with Günther salvaging only 11th place and Mortara crashing out.
Given that it was the start of a new era with new regulations and machinery, Maserati MSG Racing was given the benefit of the doubt. However, their struggles continued in Diriyah, confirming that their performance was lacking. Günther’s crash during qualifying prevented him from competing in the first race, while Mortara also faced a crash in Saudi Arabia. The Maserati garage was filled with stunned faces, realizing that significant work was required to revitalize the team.
The following race in Hyderabad brought more bad luck, as Günther missed out on a point-scoring finish due to a collision. Despite the disappointment, Mortara managed to secure the team’s first points of the season, showing glimpses of what the team was capable of. The progress continued in Cape Town, where Günther advanced to the final duel. However, a crash prevented him from achieving a podium finish. São Paulo proved to be another forgettable weekend for Maserati MSG Racing. After six races, they found themselves in 10th place in the Teams’ Championship, with a mere three points.
It is an understatement to say that Maserati MSG Racing experienced a string of bad luck in the early part of the season. The team had a challenging start to their return to motorsport after a long hiatus. However, there was no denying the potential in the Maserati Tipo Folgore, with Günther’s podium finish in Berlin as evidence. It was a momentous achievement for the team, marking their first single-seater podium in 66 years. Mortara also contributed to the team’s success, securing a double points finish.
As the season progressed, Maserati MSG Racing came alive in the second half. Günther delivered another podium finish in Rome, showcasing the team’s recovery. By the end of the 2023 season, they had accumulated 140 points, securing sixth place in the Teams’ Championship. Günther played a significant role, earning 101 points and finishing seventh in the Drivers’ Championship.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that Günther’s points haul was impressive considering he only finished in the top 10 in seven races. This highlights the team’s potential and the need to address the issues that affected their performance at the beginning of the season.
The recovery of Maserati MSG Racing was one of the standout stories of season nine. Their resilience and determination were evident as they overcame a difficult start to the season. However, their goal is not simply to finish in the top positions but to become Formula E winners.
Scott Swid, Maserati MSG Racing’s Principal Owner and Chairman, expressed the team’s frustration with the previous season’s results. They are hungry for more success and view the unsatisfactory outcome as a driving force to push further. The team’s camaraderie and desire to win give them the motivation to excel.
Personnel changes have been a part of Maserati MSG Racing’s journey, with new arrivals and departures shaping the team. They are not afraid to try new approaches and strategies to compete with the best in the field. This willingness to innovate extends to signing new drivers, exemplified by Jehan Daruvala, and choosing a new Team Principal.
Additionally, the team has embraced the success story of promoting a former intern to a race engineer, highlighting their recognition of hard work and talent within the organization. Maserati MSG Racing’s history in motorsport and their partnership with Maserati has helped attract high-end sponsors who share their passion for excellence. The collaboration between these iconic brands enhances their image and supports their goals.
While Maserati’s return to motorsport after a long absence may seem to add pressure, Swid emphasizes that both Maserati and MSG are hyper-competitive. They have a shared desire to win and push for success. The taste of victory motivates both entities, and they are driven to continually improve their performance. The pressure primarily comes from within the team, as they aim for nothing less than the best.
As the partnership between Maserati and MSG Racing progresses, there is a sense that their struggles in season nine have only strengthened their bond. They have acknowledged mistakes, made necessary changes, and learned valuable lessons. Despite unexpected personnel changes, the team’s determination remains unwavering.
Testing for season 10 has shown progress in the team’s package, and Maserati MSG Racing looks poised for success. The team’s resilience and refusal to settle for anything but the best make them a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.
The Formula E paddock should not underestimate or discount Maserati MSG Racing in the season 10 title race. The signs are pointing in the right direction, and the team’s commitment to excellence makes them a team to watch.