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Strong Mexican Test for HWA Racelab

HWA Racelab made progress for its qualifying setup at the in-season test on Sunday…

Photos: HWA Racelab

HWA Racelab made significant progress in Sunday’s final in-season test of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season as the team continues its process of exploration ahead of Mercedes’s entry next season.

The German team’s head of race operations Franco Chiocchetti believes that the range of programs gone through during the six available hours of running on Sunday was important.

“It was good, we completed some important programs in several key areas so it was a good end to a frustrating weekend in Mexico,” Chiocchetti told e-racing365.

Chiocchetti explained the crucial nature of the Mexico City test, which saw HWA Racelab complete 167 laps and Stoffel Vandoorne set the second-fastest lap time.

The Belgian’s lap time would have been good enough for a front-row start in the previous day’s Mexico City E-Prix.

“The steep learning curve, which we were on for the first few races, means we now have a choice to bring all our ideas and all our experience we’ve gained in those events together here for the test,” said Chiocchetti.

“We have a few races coming up which we know – for sure Hong Kong, Rome, Paris, Berlin – so we have an opportunity to have an understanding of what we’ll need there and try to bring everything together.”

Chiocchetti believes that the Sanya event, which is new to all teams and drivers, gives HWA Racelab the chance to reprise its qualifying efforts in Santiago which saw Vandoorne start fourth.

“We’re having our rookie drivers, all the drivers are starting on the same level and we saw in Santiago we were able to get to the Super Pole and the expectations will be the same,” he explained.

Paffett: “Natural Frustration” in Not Winning

HWA Racelab’s Gary Paffett says that despite the frustration of the new team’s first four races, the aim of learning as much as possible for the Mercedes EQ Season Six entry is still priority.

“Of course both myself and the team here are used to winning on a regular basis so there is a natural frustration of course,” Paffett told e-racing365.

“But this is a learning year and we have a lot of it to do as we look at the bigger picture.

“Expecting to come in this year and be expecting to be competing at the front would show a lot of disrespect to the others because this is a very high level playing field now.”

Reigning DTM champion Paffett explained that a focus on qualifying performance was undertaken on Sunday in response to difficulties in perfecting the all-important grid-forming session in Mexico City.

“We were focusing on performance for qualifying and push laps’ in general,” said Paffett. “Getting more consistent qualifying performance is key in Formula E.

“In practice here [in Mexico] we had problems with our race software so before the race I didn’t get one lap in proper race mode.

“In the race it was fine but with no preparation ahead of that it makes life tough for us.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam



  1. Avatar

    Kris G.

    February 22, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    The HWA problem right now isn’t qualifying but race pace. They have to focus in long runs so they can understand the car, race format and address the issues that will rise.

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      February 22, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Agreed but qualifying this season is paramount. They have occasionally qualified well but if they can get in top 6 consistently then they will get a podium by season end I am sure of it.

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