Following newly crowned DTM champion Gary Paffett’s arrival at HWA RACELAB – the latest entry into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship – the German team added Stoffel Vandoorne to complete its driver line-up for its debut season in the series.
“I am honoured that HWA have signed me for their Formula E programme,” said Vandoorne.
“HWA are such a great team with a long and successful history in motorsport. 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.”
With both drivers new to all-electric street racing, the team faces a steep learning curve, going up against seasoned teams and drivers such as reigning champions Audi Sport Abt Schaeffer and DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne. Neither will be going down without a fight.
Although we are all newbies to the series, I have no doubt that we will have a steep learning curve,” admitted the Belgian driver.
“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,” he added.
But for what Vandoorne lacks in Formula E experience, the 26-year-old makes up for in racing prowess. After first entering single-seater racing in the F4 Eurocup in 2010, he progressed into the GP2 series within four years, winning the championship title in 2015 on his second attempt. A year later, he stepped in as a replacement for the injured two-time world champion Fernando Alonso to make his Formula One debut in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing in the points on his very first outing. For the past two seasons (2017 and 2018), the Belgian driver remained with the McLaren outfit.
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,” said Ulrich Fritz, CEO of HWA AG.
“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… we all have a lot to learn together,” he admitted.
“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.
“These are precisely the sort of strengths that will count for a lot in our first Formula E campaign. It gives me confidence that we and our two drivers are well prepared for the challenges ahead.”
On October 16, Vandoorne and Paffett made their public debut with HWA at pre-season testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.