Motorsport great Felipe Massa to race in Formula E

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  • Felipe Massa to join Formula E
  • Ex-F1 star signs for Venturi team in all-electric series

(CNN)A year after calling time on his long and storied Formula One career, veteran driver Felipe Massa is returning to the track in Formula E.

The Brazilian is set to join Formula E team Venturi in the all-electric series for the 2018/19 season.
The 37-year-old, winner of 11 grands prix over the course of his 15-year F1 career, has signed a three-year contract. The Monaco-based Venturi team was co-founded by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio.
    He's one of a number of former F1 drivers to make the switch to Formula E, less than five years after its inception.
    "I'm very happy to be joining the Venturi Formula E Team and the Formula E championship, which has become a magnificent competition in such a short space of time," said Massa.
    "For some years now, I've been clear about my interest in this innovative, forward-looking discipline that's developing exponentially.
    "I especially like the format of race meetings, the city center circuits and the contact with the fans. I can't wait to take part in testing at the end of the month."

    'An honor'

    One of the most popular and talented drivers on the F1 grid, Massa made 242 starts, starring for Sauber, Ferrari and Williams.
    His final victory came in the concluding race of the 2008 season at the Brazilian Grand Prix in what turned out to be something of a bittersweet affair.
    Vying with Lewis Hamilton for the drivers' championship, Massa initially thought the title was his when he took the checkered flag at Interlagos -- only for celebrations to be cut short when his British rival passed Tim Glock in the final corners of the race to snatch it at the last.
    It was the closest Massa ever came to winning the championship, despite 36 podiums over the course of his career.
    In the following season Massa's helmet was struck by a stray suspension spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. The impact fractured his skull, leaving him fighting for his life in intensive care in a Budapest hospital.
    However, after emergency surgery above his left eye and a subsequent operation to fit a titanium plate to strengthen the skull, Massa made a full recovery allowing him to return for the 2010 season.
    Gildo Pastor, the Venturi president, called it an "honor" to be able to welcome a driver of such distinction to the team.
    "I needed him, his experience, his speed, and his openness," said Pastor. "Formula E is extremely complex to set up and drive.
    "Even more so than in other disciplines, teamwork between the driver and the engineering team is one of the keys to success.
    "Felipe's 15 years' experience in Formula 1 will definitely give us a boost. And with his humble nature, I know he will listen to the team and master the discipline quickly."
    The likes of Jacques Villeneuve, Lucas di Grassi, Nelson Piquet Jr, Bruno Senna, Nick Heidfeld and Jerome D'Ambrosio have also made the switch from F1 to Formula E.