After disappointing 2 years, McLaren F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne ready to move to Formula E

Stoffel Vandoorne bids farewell to Formula 1 at the end of the season and heads to the ABB Formula E championship with the HWA AG team, the precursor to Mercedes’ full-time entry in that series next year.

Formula E is the all-electric championship that races solely on street circuits in destination cities. Unlike F1, the series features plenty of overtaking and, as was proven by the Techeetah team and former F1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne in season four, customer teams are able to win not only races but championships. 

Vandoorne joins former F1 drivers Vergne, Sebastian Buemi, Lucas di Grassi and Nelson Piquet Jr. — each have won Formula E championships — on the grid, while Brazilian F1 veteran Felipe Massa also joins the series for 2019.

Van Doorne, 26, with 39 career F1 starts with McLaren F1 team to his credit, is careful not to rule out a return Formula 1 one day, but he has already switched his thinking to Formula E.

“It’s a bit hard to tell,” said Vandoorne. “I’m starting a new challenge which I’m really looking forward to with HWA in Formula E and I don’t really have a break this winter. So, I’m going straight into that, and my mindset is also to do the best job there. Whatever happens in the future is difficult to tell at this moment.

“We’ve seen the driver market this summer has been a little bit crazy, and no one could really have expected what has happened. Who knows what can happen, but for now I’m just focusing on Formula E and doing the best job there.”

Vandoorne was promoted to a full-time race seat with McLaren in 2017, having made his debut at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix. He scored a point on his debut, but McLaren’s continuing poor reliability combined with a general lack of pace in the car has prevented the 2015 GP2 champion from showing what he can do. He scored 13 points in 2017 and has 12 points so far in 2018.

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