Confirmed: Maserati MSG Racing will start the new 2024 Formula E season without a team principal
It's quite strange news for an FIA World Championship: the Formula E team Maserati MSG Racing will start the new 2024 season, which begins in Mexico on Saturday, without a team principal. Following the surprise departure of James Rossiter shortly before the tests in Valencia, interim boss and co-owner Jose Maria Aznar Botella continues to hold the reins. Maserati is nevertheless relaxed.
At a virtual media round with Maserati on Monday, a team spokeswoman initially responded to a question from e-Formula.news by saying that a new team principal would be introduced in due course. The reasons for Rossiter's departure would have to be enquired about with (Formula E shareholder) Liberty. Following this surprising statement, it became clear on Wednesday that Rossiter will be working as a TV pundit for the electric series in the new season.
Formula E published an article on its website announcing Rossiter's new role. Other experts on this year's English-language TV programme include Porsche reserve driver Andre Lotterer, Extreme E driver Catie Munnings and British racing driver Billy Monger. David Coulthard and Jamie Chadwick are set to make guest appearances over the course of the season.
"I'm really looking forward to it," says Rossiter about his new role in Formula E's TV team. "It's an incredible opportunity and a fantastic challenge." However, he has nothing to say about leaving Maserati MSG. His departure remains a mystery for the time being. After a difficult start to the 2023 season, the Briton had turned the tide as team principal and was responsible for Maserati's first victory in Jakarta, among other things.
"We obviously had a lot of applications"
The fact is, however, that Maserati MSG will start the 2024 season without an official team principal. In response to a further enquiry from a colleague from Motorsport-Magazin during the aforementioned media round, the MSG spokesperson confirmed: "No, we will not appoint a team principal before Mexico. I can understand that it looks like an unusual situation from the outside. But everyone within the team is very focussed."
"We would love to keep Jose (Maria Aznar Botella) as our team principal, but unfortunately Jose also has other business commitments," she explains. "He has kindly stepped in and done a great job."
"We obviously had a lot of applications, as you can imagine. We have no worries at all about filling this position. We trust our team management to introduce the right person at the right time. They will take the time they need to find the perfect person. Then we will appoint the person in due course," said the spokesperson.
Maserati officially "confident"
Despite the special situation in the team, Giovanni Sgro, Head of Motorsport at Maserati, seems relaxed during the media round: "Trust is an important component in managing a team. I trust the Maserati MSG Racing Team, its drivers, the competences and the team management."
"In Jose Aznar, we not only have a very capable interim team principal, but also one of the team owners. Who better to steer this ship than someone who owns shares in the team and the company?"
"Is it ideal to start a season without a permanent team principal? I'll leave the answer to that question up to you. But I am confident given the work the team has done since last season and in Valencia during testing."