Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA, Formula E, 2018

Vandoorne happy to go “back to basics” after F1 exit

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Stoffel Vandoorne says he’s enjoying life in Formula E after two difficult seasons in Formula 1.

What they say

It’s nice to change a bit of environment. And actually a lot of the people here I know in the paddock. There’s a lot of drivers I’ve raced against and even the teams, there’s a lot of junior teams, mechanics that I know around, so a lot of familiar faces as well.

But it’s nice to start something fresh. It’s almost back to basics again, the drivers have the same catering, we just spend a bit more time together.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Formula E’s biggest challenge for the future is ensuring it remains a competitive championship, says Neil:

I really hope Formula E can keep itself as a series where independent teams can compete. In that sense it’s nice that it’s so new it has no real history, so fans haven’t built up strong allegiances to certain manufacturers who’ll use their popularity as a bargaining tool.

But even without that sort of thing, the more exposure it gets the more certain parties will want to protect their own interests. I think I’ll be more impressed if FE can maintain a level playing field than I would be if they wheeled out a 200mph car.
Neil (@Neilosjames)

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Author information

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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18 comments on “Vandoorne happy to go “back to basics” after F1 exit”

  1. Formula E can keep itself as a series where independent teams can compete.

    Given how you need to be heavily backed by a manufacturer to compete in Formula E & also given how they all use the same car i’d argue that there isn’t a truly independent team in Formula E right now; Certainly not in the same style of a team like Williams, McLaren or even Red Bull in F1 who build there own car & can be truly independent of any manufacturer.

    I also doubt there will ever be a truly independent team in the series given how the manufacturer’s are far more crucial to the series success than they are in F1.

    It’s also far, far easier to keep competition (Artificially) close in a series that is using a spec chassis than it ever will be in a series like F1 where everyone does there own thing.

    1. I also doubt there will ever be a truly independent team in the series given how the manufacturer’s are far more crucial to the series success than they are in F1.

      I dont think that’s true. Manufacturers in FE dont have anywhere near the influence as they do in F1 so far.
      As for ‘truly’ ‘independent’ , you mention McLaren and Williams, they are both already involved in FE as suppliers, they’ve both relied on Mercedes power in the past in F1. So if they came to FE and built their own motors yet relied on an off the shelf chassis what’s the difference?

      It’s also far, far easier to keep competition (Artificially) close in a series that is using a spec chassis than it ever will be in a series like F1 where everyone does there own thing.

      What is artificial about a spec chassis? The cars are quite complex. DS and one other team use an in-house brake design. the rest use off the shelf, are the off the shelf parts ‘artificial’ ?

      The great thing about FE is they can do anything they want in the future. Look at the uproar over Halo for F1 and not for FE. Imagine if F1 wanted to change the look of the cars this drastically.
      And it seems to be mostly old school F1 fans criticising ‘gimmicks’ in FE ignoring they are equally as present in F1

      1. The off the shelfes brakes aint artificial because the in house ones are allowed. I imagine they are heavily regulated however.

      2. What is artificial about a spec chassis?

        Nothing, My point was that it’s far easier to artificially keep the field close via regulations that prevent anyone from gaining an advantage.

        The chassis is spec so nobody can find an advantage from that & even though you have multiple manufacturer’s & types of power train there heavily regulated to ensure that nobody has an advantage.

        In F1 for instance Mercedes started out the hybrid era with the best engine & it was left to others to catch up. In Formula E even when somebody develops a system that gives them a performance advantage there never allowed to fully utilize it because the regulations are such that everyone ends up with the same power levels.

        The Formula E order is as close as it is because nobody is allowed to develop any advantage & to me that is artificial. For as frustrating as a team finding an advantage may be to fans that is the point of the sport & anything that tries to ensure equality by stopping this is in my view not only artificial but also completely against the spirit of the sport.

        1. Hum.. not sure about that man.

          Renault dominated in Mercedes-esque fashion in Season 2 & most of season 3, for example.
          Teams are allowed to develop their own powertrain, inverter & now also Brake By Wire.
          There’s not a BOP, constructors that work better will have advantage on track.

          (NIO, Venturi & HWA are nowhere compared to the big constructors, right now)

          Techeetah seems also to have a quite a big advantage in race trim right now, that wouldn’t be possible in a spec serie. (Vergne gained 16 seconds on the lead after his spin at the first lap).

          It’s not as open as F1 (and that’s right, beacause a spending war would lead into the series death), but constructors can make a Difference already

  2. Good COTD. Yes FE has a spec chassis but there is clearly a lot going on elsewhere in the cars that allows a team like Techeetah DS to grab a bit of an edge this year (even though they haven’t won a race yet).

    I liked the series when the Renault was the fastest team but seemed to break down often. Now I like it even more. I hope it lasts.

    I would like to see a wide open road course just for a few rounds. I think they’d put on a heck of show. Opportunity missed in my opinion the longer they go with only street races.

    1. They would be even slower on a wide open road course

  3. As great as a Finnish GP would be, I highly doubt it’d actually come true. Never say never, of course, but I just don’t see it being too realistic actually to happen. If an F1 race in Finland ever were to happen, then it’d pretty much have to take place in the middle of the summer as that’s effectively the only suitable time of year for F1 racing temperature-wise.

    Regarding the Racer-article: An exciting and insightful interview.

    Coca-Cola on a Mclaren. If that only actually were to happen.

    1. Coca-Cola on a Mclaren. If that only actually were to happen.

      Call it photoshop or ‘fake news’; it’s still the best news from McLaren in years ;)

  4. Formula Eek needs to stop comparing itself to F1. It isn’t but its a perfectly good series which will mature nicely. But its the channel 5 to F1’s BBC4.

    Ironically it doesn’t seem to be much of a spectator sport trackside but that might be TV’s false perspectives, F1 cars act way differently when you’re sat at Becketts than they do on TV and they have other issues but the sprint nature of it is perfect TV. Maybe its time F1 started comparing itself to FE and thought about moving towards the sprint model rather than the tireseome (pun unintended) current lift and coast attrition test.

    After all 2 sprint races on a Sunday means 2 starts and 30 laps of 100% attack mode. That is until the strategists work out its better to finish 8th than 1st so as to finish 4th in the reverse grid 2nd race or some such boringness that dilutes any fun.

    Change is coming, embrace it or die.

    1. Ironically it doesn’t seem to be much of a spectator sport trackside

      I can attest to this from personal experience. I was at the inaugural Battersea event, and even from the appointed viewing platform, you could hardly see the cars. Because of the close proximity, the catch fencing only allowed a straight-ahead view, so each car was visible for about 2 seconds every lap as it whooshed past. To compound the problem, the near-silent motors gave no advance warning that a car was approaching, so it was easy to miss that 2 second viewing opportunity. You had no overall sense of who was leading, who was challenging, or any aspect of the race progress.
      I gave up and went to the infield to watch on the big TV screen. I might just have well stayed at home and watched on TV.
      Massive fail. I won’t be going to any more FE events until they graduate to proper circuits.

    2. After all 2 sprint races on a Sunday means 2 starts and 30 laps of 100% attack mode.


      Shorter races are not what F1 is nor should it ever be.

      F1 always has been & always should be a mental & physical challenge which test’s car & driver. A short 30 odd lap race simply doesn’t do this & is totally against the spirit of grand prix racing.
      Car management has to an extent always been a part of the sport & always should be as that is part of the challenge also. that said the designed to fall to bits tyres do need changing.

  5. Congratulations to Brazilian Igor Fraga for winning McLaren Shadow, he was stunning the whole way through. I was personally rooting for Nuno Pinto, as I race in the same rFactor 2 league as him, albeit in the division below. It was close, but Igor pulled away as time went on in the final race. Top job to McLaren for organizing such a competition, and carrying it out without a hitch.

  6. I can’t decide what is a better move, Red Bull to Honda or Ricciardo to Renault.
    I remember Renault as a double WCC with Alonso they had a fantastic Ferrari beating car I think they can get to the front again. Red Bull and Honda not so sure… They have no history except very bad Honda engines. Of course Merc can turn it up when they get challenged.

  7. Interesting interview of Ellie Norman!

    While one may question some orientations the new management takes, their engagement and effort is without question and I can’t help but feel it is refreshing.

    F1 when looking with rose tinted glasses has always been mysterious and magic with inaccessible legendary heroes. It really isn’t the case anymore in an era where the most trivial news takes 1 minute to travel around the world. We are much more connected than before and F1 may need to rethink itself.

    In reality, F1 is regarded as boring by a lot of sports enthusiasts. Around me people don’t understand why anyone would watch 20 cars following each other two hours long without anything happening and with the same driver everytime. Less and less people watch it and it will take time to recover.

    Liberty isn’t doing a bad job at all actually. How hard is it to change of direction for such a large company? How even harder is it to change F1 when so much is crippled and the company is litterally decades behind its time?

    I have a lot of respect for what they are currently trying it is very brave. And they actually had some decent success on a number of topics. On other fronts it is more difficult like the cost cap or the OTT service. It was always going to take time as there was about nothing.

    And asking genuinely fresh questions and trying to move things forward is appreciable. One may legitimately fear a transition towards an entertainment and then loose the very essence of the sport. But from outside F1 is an aging outdated sport while other motorsports are much more dynamic: wrc, wrx, wec, formula e to name a few. I really don’t think F1 would loose its essence by entering in the modern era we are in.

    It’s a lot of positives when looking back, from Brawn role to cost cap, OTT, grid girls, halo and overtaking studies. And this Ellie Norman seems to reflect Liberty’s will to move forward.

  8. Tried to sit down and watch this new and improved formulaE…

    It’s still like going from watching NBA/NFL level sports, then saying nah… high school football is where it’s at! Embarrassingly slow.

    If they want to be the future of racing… get those cars moving faster!

  9. Tried to get through Arthofer’s obtuse Marketing Speek quote. Just before losing consciousness, this line stood out:

    …a place for brand partners to integrate authenticity into the storytelling’.”

    Could this be finally be it…truth in advertising?

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