McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne has confirmed he will race in Formula E next year for the Mercedes-affiliated HWA Racelab team.
Vandoorne has driven the last two seasons for McLaren in Formula One but lacklustre performances alongside Fernando Alonso will see him replaced by F2 driver Lando Norris next year. With very few spaces available on the F1 grid in 2019, Vandoorne’s options were limited and he has now confirmed he will join the all-electric series in 2019.
“Today, a new racing series, a new challenge and a new team for me has been announced: I will be making my Formula E debut in the 2018/19 season as a member of the HWA RACELAB squad,” he said in a statement. “I am honoured that HWA have signed me for their Formula E programme: HWA are such a great team with a long and successful history in motorsport.”
HWA has run Mercedes cars in DTM since 1999 but is leaving the German touring car series along with the Mercedes brand at the end of this year. Vandoorne will race alongside recently-crowned DTM champion Gary Paffett next year.
“All the people I’ve met so far are really passionate about racing,” Vandoorne said of HWA. “Also, it´s great to work alongside such an experienced driver as Gary Paffett, the newly crowned DTM champion.
“I am pretty sure that we will benefit from each other during the season. Although we are all newbies to the series, I have no doubt that we will have a steep learning curve. However, it won’t be easy. My objective is therefore to become competitive in the series as soon as possible and to make a good impression.”
Vandoorne also thanked McLaren for his time in F1.
“At the same time, I would like to thank everyone at McLaren for having supported me throughout the last seven years, starting with the Young Drivers’ Programme days, through to my two seasons as a test driver and finally, as a Formula One driver.
“Over these fantastic years I have met incredibly skilled and caring people who have made me feel part of the family, I have learned about discipline, tricks and patience and I am proud to say, today I am a better driver.”