Vandoorne – Splitting F1 and FE “quite easy”

Stoffel Vandoorne says splitting his McLaren Formula 1 duties with his upcoming Formula E drive with HWA Racelab will be “quite easy” for the rest of the year.

Vandoorne only completed two of the three-day pre-season test in Valencia, in addition to two days private testing offered by HWA’s powertrain supplier Venturi, before having to leave to compete in the US Grand Prix.

But he expects balancing the end of his F1 season with preparation for his FE debut to get easier as there are no longer clashes between his programmes.

“It’s quite easy now actually. I think the most difficult part is [Valencia],” he said.

“I think this is probably the biggest clash there is. The race in Riyadh is only a couple of weeks after Abu Dhabi so until then I’ll complete my F1 programme and probably the weeks inbetween I’ll spend some time with HWA and prepare for FE. But it’s fine, there’s worse problems to have.”

Prior to the Valencia test Vandoorne had not used the HWA simulator but is expected to do some running in preparation for Riyadh before his final F1 race in Abu Dhabi.

His Valencia running was heavily limited due to persistent battery issues, meaning he completed the fewest laps of any driver on 47 between his two days of running.

“We knew this test was going to be a little bit difficult for us, running through the various problems. Really the focus is for us after this couple of days testing is to have gone through all the difficulties we were having and learn from those and making sure operationally we’re running by Riyadh.

“We were trying our best not to have too many issues but we need to manage a bit of expectations because HWA is completely new to this series and myself as well and Gary. So for us it’s all a new challenge and there’s a lot of things we have to go through, a lot of processes, a lot of operational stuff.

“From my side I’ve been combining this with F1 but from HWA’s side they’ve been combining this with DTM, so it’s been jumping from one ship to the other all the time for the past couple of months. Now the DTM is finished and the team is 100 per cent focused to FE I think we will have an extremely steep learning curve.

He has not ruled out combining FE with other series, but has no solid plans to race or test in one yet.

“My main focus will be FE, I will have full dedication to that programme.

“Whether there will be some side stuff I will be doing, I don’t know at this time. I know a lot of the drivers are combining with different series and doing different races but from my side it’s still a bit too early to think about that.”

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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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