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Vandoorne Still Favorite for Second HWA Seat

Stoffel Vandoorne is expected to be announced at HWA ahead of Valencia test…

Photo: McLaren Formula 1

Stoffel Vandoorne is expected to be confirmed as Gary Paffett’s teammate at the new HWA Racelab team ahead of next week’s official Valencia test.

The German team, which enters the ABB FIA Formula E Championship as a precursor to a full factory Mercedes squad in 2019-20, only announced Paffett at the launch of its debut Formula E program on Monday.

E-racing365 revealed last month that current Formula 1 driver Vandoorne is set to make the switch to the all-electric series when his commitments with McLaren come to an end.

The extent that Vandoorne will participate in the three-day group test next week remains unclear.

He could only participate in the opening day, Tuesday, before he heads to Circuit of The Americas for the United States Grand Prix.

It’s believed that negotiations between McLaren, Mercedes and Vandoorne’s representatives are taking place this week in order to discuss the Belgian’s immediate future.

HWA Racelab team principal Ulrich Fritz would not be drawn on the identity of his second driver but did not deny that Vandoorne would take the seat.

“Yes, we have fixed the second driver,” Fritz told e-racing365 at the team’s launch.

“Do we have a deal with a guy called Vandoorne? We are working on a few things and I don’t want to comment on it at the moment.

“Of course, the second driver will also drive at Valencia, that is for sure.”

Paffett: “Talented” Vandoorne a “Great Driver”

Paffett acknowledged Vandoorne’s talent and hypothesized on the prospect of the Belgian serving as his teammate this season.

“If it ends up being Stoffel, he is a great driver,” Paffett told e-racing365. “He’s really talented. He hasn’t had the easiest time in F1 but he is a talented driver.

“If he does end up being my teammate, I am sure he will be pushing me really hard.”

E-racing365 understands that another current Mercedes DTM driver could join Paffett at the Valencia test.

Of the manufacturer’s current DTM roster, both Paul Di Resta and Daniel Juncadella have some Formula E experience after tests with Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Mahindra Racing, respectively.

Mercedes factory driver and former Formula E regular Maro Engel is also known to be available for the test.

Rene de Boer contributed to this report.

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. krisg

    October 9, 2018 at 9:54 am

    The reason Vandoorne was ‘burned’ in F1 was because first he got in a team that already was struggling and having problems with its engine supplier (Honda) and second he had Alonso as a teammate – a very competitive but not easy guy. Can’t see he finding a seat in F1 before he rebuilds his career and FE can be the right opportunity for him to shine as in two years time he could be driving for the Mercedes Works team.

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