Vandoorne closing on a surprise deal with Mercedes?

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Stoffel Vandoorne has emerged as a surprise serious contender for a race seat with HWA in the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.

E-racing365 can reveal that the current McLaren Formula 1 driver has tried a Formula E car recently and is close to firming up a deal to race for HWA as the team debuts in the series.

HWA is running as its own entity for the 2018-19 campaign, using customer Venturi powertrains, in preparation for Mercedes to take over in 2019-20.

e-racing365.com

Mercedes Formula E entry

“Formula E is a unique series with some very specific challenges for its teams,” said Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “We know the level of competition is extremely high and we will approach the challenge with energy and humility.

There can be no other approach when we are up against ten competitive manufacturers, many of whom have years of experience in the series,” he added.

Mercedes EQ Formula E Team will call on the expertise of HWA AG in Affalterbach, which will run its trackside race operations. HWA has traditionally been responsible for design, development and operations of the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM cars.

The record books show that HWA is the most successful team in DTM history with ten drivers’, 13 team and six constructors’ titles.

“The combined know-how of the Mercedes family at Affalterbach, Brixworth and Brackley provides the perfect foundations for our new Mercedes EQ Formula E Team. I cannot imagine a better combination to take on this kind of project,” said Wolff.

fiaformulae.com

“We want qualifying to be less predictable so that it is more likely that the strongest cars can end up in the ‘wrong’ positions,” said F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn.

“Perhaps by reducing the number of laps each driver can do in each segment, the teams will not be able to optimize everything as they are able to currently.

“But we will act very cautiously because the current format is popular and successful.”

autoweek.com

NOTE FROM ED: Regarding today’s announcement below, it’s always satisfying to that the paddock ‘tea leaves’ have indeed been read correctly! SEE THIS TJ13 ARTICLE FROM EARLY SEPT.

Officially, Giovinazzi is taking Leclerc’s place at the team, according to a statement: “Following its tradition of discovering and nurturing young talents, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team has appointed the Italian driver, who has worked with the team for the past two years, to race in place of Charles Leclerc.”

Team principal Frederic Vasseur said they are “very pleased to reveal the complete driver line-up for the 2019 season.”

“We first signed Kimi Räikkönen, an extremely experienced driver who will contribute to the development of our car and will accelerate the progress of our team as a whole,” said Vasseur.

“Together with Alfa Romeo, we are delighted to welcome Antonio Giovinazzi, who will take the place of Charles Leclerc. We have already had the opportunity to work with him in the past and he has proven to have great potential.

“We are very determined and motivated. Our target is to continue progressing and fighting together for positions that count.”

Giovinazzi said the news is a “dream come true.”

“It is a great pleasure to have the chance to race for this team,” said the 24-year-old. “As an Italian, it is a huge honour for me to represent a brand as iconic and successful as Alfa Romeo in our sport.

“I would like to thank the Scuderia Ferrari and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for giving me this great opportunity. I am very motivated and cannot wait to start working towards achieving great results together.”

racefans.net