In a surprising turn of events, Stoffel Vandoorne has emerged as a surprise contender in Formula E. It is believed that he is looking for a race seat with HWA in the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.
Sources 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.
The Belgian, 26, recently lost his McLaren seat for 2019 and is understood to have been in discussions with HWA through contacts at Mercedes about moving to Formula E while he looks at future possibilities to return to F1.
Should he join HWA, he would likely partner DTM title contender Gary Paffett, who has had several tests in Venturi’s Gen 2 car at Ales.
Only drivers within Mercedes’ roster were thought likely to be considered for a full-time role with the new team, but the recent availability of Vandoorne and his experience of brake-by-wire technology makes him a good fit for the team.
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.
It has been utilizing some of the 22 manufacturer test days available to Venturi in recent months.
HWA will formally announce its lineup on Oct. 8 at its Affalterbach base in Germany.
The season is set to commence in December in Saudi Arabia and continue all through 2019. In season 5, there are a host of changes, including a new Gen 2 car and the outlawing of mid-race car swaps. There will also be 11 teams racing this season, with the addition of HWA.
With regard to confirmed lineups, only five teams have confirmed their lineups. They include, Jaguar, Nissan, Audi Sport, Venturi and BMW Andretti. Virgin Racing and DS Techeetah have only confirmed a single driver so far.
After four seasons, this will be the first season with the new and improved Gen 2 cars. Who will come out on top when the season ends? Will Nelson Piquet Jr, Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi or Jean-Eric Vergne defend their titles? Or will the sport crown a new champion?