Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA, Formula E testing, Valencia, 2018

Vandoorne 100% dedicated to “not the fastest” Formula E

2018 US Grand Prix

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Stoffel Vandoorne says his switch to Formula E is a completely new challenge that he is 100% dedicated to, calling the racing “exciting” despite slower cars.

Vandoorne travelled to Austin for the US Grand Prix after completing two days of testing with his new Formula E team, HWA, in Valencia, Spain. Open testing included all cars for season 5 of the championship on track and a simulated “race” to test the new 45-minute format and Attack Mode.

Speaking to media about his experience, Vandoorne said that the series differed starkly from what he had become used to in and on the way to Formula One –

“It’s very different from Formula One, for sure. It’s not the fastest car but it’s a completely different challenge, it’s very different from what I’ve got used to in Formula One or any of the categories before that, it’s new for both me and HWA.”

Vandoorne became involved with the Mercedes ex-DTM outfit via Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, around the time of losing his seat at McLaren to Lando Norris for next year – “It started in September when I received a phone call from Toto and he asked if I wanted to join the Formula E project.

“For me that was quite an easy decision to go there, in terms of what the future is holding for the team it looks like a very exciting project so I’m very glad to be part of that”

Vandoorne described the series as up-and-coming and that he expects the cars to get quicker with the pace of electric vehicle development, “It’s an up and coming series, if you look at how long they’ve existed – only four years – and so many constructors have joined, you can see that people look at this as the future and I think it has huge potential.

“Electric development is in such an early stage that cars will keep getting faster. If you look at the step from generation one to generation two cars we’ve already made a big step, whenever the new generation will be that will be another huge step forward.”

Vandoorne said he was looking forward to racing in the series, after a difficult stint in Formula One – “It’s been a shame not to have better results in Formula One but sometimes that’s the way it goes. I’ve probably been at the worst time with McLaren in terms of the car and the car performances so that’s something I couldn’t really control.”

Speaking in Valencia earlier this week he said that he was confident Formula E was a series in which he could make a difference as a driver

“I think especially in qualifying it’s more or less pushing flat out, trying to maximise everything you have out of the car but I think especially in race conditions where you have to be efficient in the quickest way possible, that’s where you can make a lot of difference as a driver but also as a team with how good the software is and how you regulate all those factors.”

Vandoorne will finish the Formula One season with McLaren before moving to Formula E full time, with no side programme confirmed alongside his HWA duties, which he described himself as being “100%” dedicated to after Abu Dhabi.

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Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA, Formula E testing, Valencia, 2018
Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA, Formula E testing, Valencia, 2018

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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8 comments on “Vandoorne 100% dedicated to “not the fastest” Formula E”

  1. Hope one day we get the true story behind his failure to even challenge Alonso on a regular basis in these two years, but I feel for the guy. So dominant in junior formulas and he then goes and joins F1 in the worst enviromnent ever (superb team mate, horrible car/engine combos)… i hope he gets another chance, like Magnussen did.

    1. There is an article from within the team which talks about Stoffel’s driving style and it needing a stable back (if i’m not mistaken) and that’s the weakness of the car.
      It was compared to the year Vettel got trashed by Riciardo at RedBull, where the same problem arose with the car, and that didn’t suit Vettel’s driving style.

      Hope he can show his talent in FE

      1. So what your saying is, just like Vettel vs Ricciardo, it’s complicated and a bunch of internet driving critics don’t know everything?

        …makes sense.

    2. The truth is Alonso is one of the top 5 ever drivers, and Vandoorne did really well against him. If they were driving Mercedes cars, Vandoorne would be slightly better then bottas in the bottas/Hamilton comparison.

  2. He was 100% dedicated to “not the fastest” McLaren too. At least now he’ll be in a more competitive car so perhaps he’ll get a chance to shine once more. Formula E seems to have a decent spread of talent and the cars are more equal. It seems so slow though. I wish they’d boost the speed a bit more and take them round some better tracks. Couldn’t they get them to places like Brands Hatch and some other non-F1 tracks occasionally? If they’re only doing sports car speeds surely there’s less issue with runoff areas etc. They could even potentially take them round a couple of ovals in the U.S.? They could make it all swooshy and modern like WipeOut. A mix of nostalgic racetracks, cool urban centres and futurism all whilst keeping costs low.

    1. The problem is if they ‘boost the speed a bit more’ they will quickly run out of juice. The FE cars are not made to run at high speeds down long straights. I suspect they would be embarrassingly slow on real tracks.

    2. They Need heavy braking zones to recharge the battery. Formula E on ovals would be the worst idea.

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