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Mercedes F1 boss Wolff called Vandoorne for FE HWA seat

A call from Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff to Stoffel Vandoorne began the process of his switch to Formula E with HWA Racelab.

After Vandoorne was dropped by McLaren in favour of Lando Norris for 2019, he was left out of options on the F1 grid, but has since found himself a new home with the new HWA team in FE alongside recently-crowned DTM champion Gary Paffett.

“I think it was around September Toto gave me a call and asked me if I wanted to join the FE project,” Vandoorne told FormulaSpy.

“For me that was quite an easy decision. I knew where I was standing in F1 and to join a team like HWA with the background and support they have and how things are looking for the future, it was an extremely good opportunity for me.

“I didn’t really have to think about it. The plans for the future are every exciting. So when I had the chance to join knowing what the future is holding, I didn’t have to think twice.”

HWA is acting as a sleeper team for Mercedes, which will enter the series next season as a full factory team.

Vandoorne will only be able to contest in the first two days of the Valencia pre-season test as he has to leave on Thursday morning to contest in the US Grand Prix. He told FormulaSpy he already had two days of private testing under his belt though.

“I had a couple of days in the car already so I know more or less what it feels like already but it’s a massive challenge for the whole team, myself and HWA. We’re all new to it.

“We need to give everybody a little bit of time in the beginning to get up to speed, then we see how it will develop.

“You would always like to do more testing but at some point you have to get on with it. There’s not much choice, it’s the way it is. We just have to do the best we can with those couple of days we are getting.

“At the moment my schedule is pretty busy with combining testing and F1 races but once the F1 season finishes I will have all my focus on FE.”

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Chris Stevens

Chris is a member of the Autosport Academy and has been writing about motorsport professionally since 2015. He has been one of the top Formula E journalists since he went to Donington Park for pre-season testing a week after picking up his A-Level results.

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