Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Singapore, 2018

Vandoorne to join Formula E with HWA

Formula E

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Stoffel Vandoorne will move to Formula E with the Mercedes-backed HWA team for the 2018-19 season.

Vandoorne’s team mate will be Gary Paffett, the former McLaren test driver who won the DTM championship for the second time yesterday.

HWA has previously competed in Formula Three, the DTM and GT Racing.

“HWA are such a great team with a long and successful history in motorsport,” said Vandoorne. “All the people I’ve met so far are really passionate about racing.

“Also, it´s great to work alongside such an experienced driver as Gary Paffett. I am pretty sure that we will benefit from each other during the season.”

Vandoorne said the team expect a “steep learning curve” in their first season.

“It won’t be easy. My objective is, therefore, to become competitive in the series as soon as possible and to make a good impression.”

After making his F1 debut with McLaren in 2016, Vandoorne has endured two tough seasons alongside veteran team mate Fernando Alonso in uncompetitive cars. But HWA CEO Ulrich Fritz said he is convinced of his potential.

“Stoffel has demonstrated his talent and his speed not only in Formula 1, but also in the 2015 GP2 which he won by a wide margin.” he said.

“In Stoffel and Gary we have two Formula E rookies on our team, which in any case is making its own debut in the electric series, [so] we all have a lot to learn together.

“However, Gary and are Stoffel outstanding racing drivers who have a wealth of experience gained in Formula 1 and in the DTM…both know how to work in collaboration with the engineers to develop and fine-tune a new racing car.”

Vandoorne lost his seat at McLaren who will have an all-new line-up of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jnr next year. He will join fellow ex-F1 driver Felipe Massa making his debut when the championship’s fifth season begins on December 15th in Saudi Arabia.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Vandoorne to join Formula E with HWA”

  1. Formula E drivers field is getting dramatically better season after season.
    Great to see Stoffel there, he can reset his mind for a fresh start & comeback at 2015 levels of performance.

    1. There are good names, but it’s like a long list of F1 rejects.

      1. The fun fact is that many of those F1 rejects (or that never reached F1) are actually better than some guys still there.

        1. @miani I don’t see the likes of Buemi, Di Grassi or Piquet Jr (the main guns in Formula E in recent years) beating many of the F1 drivers, tbh… F1’s grid is as good as ever.

          1. It’s difficult to compare drivers from FE and F1. Next year we will have a good measure with Massa, Albon (since he raced against Norris and Russell) and Van Doorne. But based on my opinion alone, I think Di Grassi, for example, could be a top midfield driver alongside Perez, Hulk, Sainz, etc. And arguably better than the pay drivers.

  2. I’m glad he’s got another chance to demonstrate his abilities in a championship with lots of eyes on it.

  3. Good move by Vandoorne

    Those replacing him in F1 will probably watch with interest – there’s a fair chance that’s where they may end up in a couple of years as I’m not convinced they’ll fare any better in F1 than he did.

    1. @dbradock Aren’t Lucas Di Grassi, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastien Buemi, and Nelson Piquet Jr. FE champions? And all of them were quite rightfully kicked out of F1 (bar JEV). One struggled to beat Glock, one struggled to beat a less experienced Alguersuari, and one was so terrible that he had to be dropped mid-season for Grosjean. So I don’t think how Vandoorne does in FE will really be an indication of whether or not he should have deserved an F1 seat, as his competition isn’t exactly F1-calibre drivers.

      1. @mashiat I wasn’t saying he is, I’m saying that there’s a fair chance some of the rookies brought in will fail similarly.

        There just seems to be this mad rush to bring these young drivers in from F2 & F3 and I don’t think the’ll necessarily cut it as proved by Vandoorne. He was supposed to be the next big thing because he was so dominant in F2 – now he’s basically been written off.

      2. To be fair we know that Piquet wasn’t dropped only for performance issues. And Di Grassi didn’t really have a car to show his talent. Vergne and Buemi had enough chances in F1. Vergne isn’t great even in FE, he had a good car this season and benefited from Di Grassi poor reliability and Buemi not having good performances. Di Grassi is by far the better from them, it’s nice to compare drivers in FE because most of them had a season with the same cars, while Vergne wasn’t even close the championship in the first season, Buemi and DiGrassi was always there. I don’t expect Vergne repeating this year performance again.

  4. Disappointed he never really got going in F1, because I never stopped believing in his talent. Ideally I’d have liked to see him have another shot in a different environment.

    But, I’m pleased he’s landed in Formula E in what is going to become the works Mercedes team… aside from F1, that’s probably the best outcome for him (he didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about Indy). I’m not going to lie and say that I love watching FE, because I don’t, but with Vandoorne in there I’ll definitely be making the effort if the new car provides a better spectacle than the old one.

  5. I hope he does well, may be the first driver to go to FE then back to F1? Not doing well against Alonso never helped, but he isn’t your average driver. I hope we see him back, the guy has talent but he hasn’t really impressed too often.

    It seems being in a McLaren environment is worse than Toro Rosso!

    1. Yeh its tough in the teams where they value performance before money.

  6. “Vandoorne said the team expect a “steep learning curve” in their first season.” Racing slowly must be one heck of a challenge. Still, there’s more to racing than F1.

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