Team co-owned by Leonardo DiCaprio is 10th and last for FE

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FIA Formula E is bringing in some star power for the 10th and final team for its inaugural season, which begins in September 2014. Venturi Automobiles announced a partnership with award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to create the new Venturi Grand Prix Formula E Team.

DiCaprio will work in partnership with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, founder of pioneering EV manufacturer Venturi Automobiles, together with Bert Hedaya and Francesco Costa.

“The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles,” DiCaprio said in a release. “Venturi Grand Prix has shown tremendous foresight in their decision to create an environmentally friendly racing team, and I am happy to be a part of this effort.”

The team is centered around the award-winning Venturi Automobiles, a leader in high performance electric vehicles developing a range of sports, urban and utilitarian cars, as well as being the current holders of the world land speed record for an electric vehicle with 495kph (307mph). The team also plans to become a constructor from the second season, building its own Formula E car using a powertrain based on the one used in its 3,000hp electric streamliner – Venturi VBB-3 – unveiled earlier this year in Wendover, Utah, by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Venturi joins the nine other teams: IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, Asia’s China Racing, Super Aguri and Mahindra Racing, and European squads Drayson Racing, e.dams, Audi Sport ABT and Virgin Racing.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).