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Paffett, Wehrlein Primed for HWA Seats

HWA boss Ulrich Fritz says he has 50 percent of his driver pairing complete….

Photo: Mercedes

DTM points leader Gary Paffett and ex-Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein have emerged as key contenders for seats at the new HWA Formula E team.

The German outfit is set to announce its first two drivers next month but several sources have indicated to e-racing365 that Wehrlein and Paffett, who both represent the team in DTM, are the front runners.

Current CEO Ulrich Fritz, who is set to be named team principal next month, said that he’s “50 percent clear in his mind” on HWA’s drivers.

“I think I have the other 50 percent still pending,” Fritz told e-racing365. “There are good ideas but in the next few weeks, we will see if these are feasible ones.”

Fritz has suggested that next month’s official Valencia test is unlikely to involve a shootout between drivers.

“I think that would be not very efficient [to have a shootout] and I think we need to make the decision before,” he said.

“In general we don’t want to do a shootout, and in Valencia our clear target is to get as much running for the race drivers and get as much as experience as we can get them.”

Despite not mentioning any names, Fritz explained that HWA is looking for a driver with prior experience in car development.

“I think in Formula E from my limited experience, I think the skillset a driver needs to have is something a bit different from what we know from other race series,” he said.

“They need to be a quick learner because you don’t have a lot of time on track and you need to be able to really work with the simulator.

“It is also about being clever with energy consumption, tires and you need to be quick on street courses so there are a few factors that enter it.

“I guess that those four or five critical points can be achieved by somebody with a lot of experience because we want to learn in the first season and develop a car for season six, so we really need somebody who is a good development driver.”

Pre-Valencia Shakedown Targeted

HWA could run its new cars the week before transporting them to the Valencia test in mid-October.

The team is allowed to utilize six filming days but these are limited to a maximum distance of 50 km per event.

“[A shakedown] is not yet fixed and it depends on our schedule on the technical and build side,” said Fritz.

“The idea is to have a small and short shakedown with the two cars but the details for that are not fixed yet.”

Fritz said that HWA’s new technical director Franco Chiocchetti and other staff have attended private Venturi tests in recent months, in what are believed to have essentially been shared events between the two teams.

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

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    September 10, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Not sure if Wehrlein is a good fit for a FE team. He’s fast, no doubt about that as he proved in F1 but clever? Capable to manage a car during a race? Not what he’s known for…

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