Formula E team HWA RACELAB has announced Stoffel Vandoorne will join the team next season following his departure from McLaren.
The Formula 1 team recently confirmed the Belgian won’t be part of their lineup for 2019 after two seasons in the car, opting to put current reserve driver Lando Norris in alongside Carlos Sainz.
Vandoorne won’t have long to wait to test his new car, as he’s scheduled to drive on the opening two days of the 2018-19 Formula E pre-season test in Valencia, which gets underway. Most drivers will complete three days of testing, but Dani Juncadella will replace Vandoorne on Friday as he needs to get to the Circuit of the Americas for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
Vandoorne’s teammate will be newly-crowned DTM champion Gary Paffett, who also knows what it’s like to be part of the McLaren family, having spent 2005 to 2014 with the team as a test and reserve driver.
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! pic.twitter.com/NE3U7Hzmm5
— Stoffel Vandoorne (@svandoorne) October 15, 2018
In a statement on Formula E’s official website, Vandoorne said: “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. All the people I’ve met so far are really passionate about racing.
“Also, it’s great to work alongside such an experienced driver as Gary Paffett. 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. It won’t be easy. My objective is, therefore, to be competitive in the series as soon as possible and to make a good impression.”
The 26-year-old earned his shot in Formula 1 after impressing in GP2, winning the title in 2015, before scoring points on his F1 debut while filling in for the injured Fernando Alonso. However, he’s struggled to shine alongside his two-time world champion teammate, ultimately resulting in him missing out to Norris for 2019.
Moving from F1 to Formula E means Vandoorne won’t get much of a break in between seasons. The 2018 Formula 1 season doesn’t end until the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 25th, just a couple of weeks before the FE season gets underway at the Riyadh Street Circuit in Saudi Arabia in December 15th.