Stoffel Vandoorne will make his Formula E debut with HWA Racelab later this year after being named as its second driver for the 2018/19 season, partnering Gary Paffett.

As reported by Crash.net last week, McLaren Formula 1 driver Vandoorne will move into Formula E for the all-electric championship’s fifth season, which starts in Saudi Arabia on December 15.

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Vandoorne has raced full-time in F1 for the past two years, but was dropped from McLaren’s line-up for 2019 following a difficult stint with the team that has seen him finish a race no higher than seventh.

After failing to land an F1 seat elsewhere, Vandoorne turned his attention to alternative options, with a deal being struck to move into Formula E with the new HWA team.

The deal was formally confirmed on Monday ahead of the start of pre-season testing in Valencia on Tuesday, which Vandoorne will attend.

"I am honoured that HWA have signed me for their Formula E programme,” Vandoorne said.

“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.”

HWA team boss Ulrich Fritz added: "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.

“However, Gary and are Stoffel outstanding racing drivers who have a wealth of experience gained in Formula 1 and in the DTM. 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.”

The move sees Vandoorne join HWA ahead of the team’s evolution into the full factory Mercedes Formula E team for Season 6, starting in 2019. HWA will race with powertrains supplied by Venturi through Season 5.

Vandoorne will follow in the footsteps of 23 previous drivers who have raced in Formula E following an F1 start. His debut will come at the same event as Felipe Massa’s first Formula E start, with the Brazilian signed to race with Venturi.

With HWA now completing its line-up, just three seats remain on the Formula E grid for Season 5. Dragon Racing is yet to confirm who will partner Jose Maria Lopez, while Mahindra Racing still has two free seats.

Mahindra is expected to name Jerome d’Ambrosio in one of its seats, and has tested ex-F1 racer Pascal Wehrlein during the off-season, with the German in contention to also make his Formula E debut in Saudi Arabia.

 

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