F1: McLaren’s Vandoorne to race in Formula E, Schumacher is ‘tipped for greatness’
Vandoorne will switch to Formula E next year with the new HWA Racelab team
Formula E switch for Vandoorne
Axed McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne will continue his motor sport career in Formula E next season.
After winning only eight points so far this year in Formula 1, the Belgian lost his seat at McLaren. British youngster Lando Norris and Spain’s Carlos Sainz have been named in their 2019 driver line-up.
Vandoorne, who is 28, will drive for the new HWA Racelab team and partner DTM champion Gary Paffett in their debut season in Formula E.
Writing on Twitter, the Belgian said: “Super excited to join HWA in Formula E and start this new challenge together! And it’s straight to business! Testing starts tomorrow here in Valencia!”
In a statement, HWA chief executive Ulrich Fritz said: “Stoffel has demonstrated his talent and his speed not only in Formula 1, but also in the 2015 GP2 which he won by a wide margin. In Stoffel and Gary, we have two Formula E rookies on our team, which in any case is making its own debut in the electric series. We all have a lot to learn together.
Fritz was full of praise for the two drivers. “Gary and Stoffel are outstanding racing drivers who have a wealth of experience gained in Formula 1 and in the DTM,” he said. “Both know how to work in collaboration with the engineers to develop and fine-tune a new racing car.”
“These are precisely the sort of strengths that will count for a lot in our first Formula E campaign. It gives me confidence that we and our two drivers are well prepared for the challenges ahead.”
Schumacher tipped to be an F1 great
Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael, is being backed to become one of F1’s “greats” after winning his first single-seater title.
Schumacher secured the Formula 3 European championship with a race to spare on Saturday, Sky Sports reports, and the 19-year-old was praised for his achievement.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “Attention was focused on the youngster right from the start and he was under a lot of pressure. It’s not easy coping with all that, especially if the season does not get off to the best of starts, as in this case. His performance in the second half of the season was therefore all the more impressive. He has shown that he has what it takes and that he can become one of the greats in our sport.”
Former Ferrari F1 driver Gerhard Berger added: “Mick has the racing genes of Michael. If he can continue to deliver performances like these, he will find his way into F1.”
Who will partner Russell at Williams?
George Russell was last week confirmed as one of Williams’s drivers for the 2019 F1 season but who will be his teammate?
With Lance Stroll expected to sign for Force India and the future of Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin unclear, there is still a seat to fill at Williams.
Wheels24 reports that four drivers are in contention for the second Williams seat. The names on the shortlist include Sirotkin, Robert Kubica, Artem Markelov and Esteban Ocon.
Team boss Claire Williams told Sky Sports it would be madness not to consider Ocon, who is set to be replaced by Stroll at Force India.
She said: “We are still doing a lot of evaluation work. It’s a short short-list. We’re very happy with the drivers we are evaluating and it will not take us a long time to make that final decision. Of course Esteban is in the mix. We would be crazy not to be looking at him.”