Vandoorne reveals HWA approach came before McLaren exit
Stoffel Vandoorne has revealed that Toto Wolff was the instigator for talks that led to him joining the Mercedes-affiliated HWA team in Formula E and that the approach came before he was let go by McLaren.
Speaking at the official Formula E pre-season test in Valencia, Vandoorne explained called him during the Monza Grand Prix weekend, prior to McLaren’s decision to promote Lando Norris for 2019.
“To be honest, it came about just before [McLaren’s decision]. Toto gave me a call, I think it was around Monza, and he asked if I would be interested to join HWA for the Formula E program,” said Vandoorne.
“When a team like that offers you this chance, you grab it with two hands. I didn’t really have to think about it. With everything that they’re planning for the future, I think everything is looking good.”
Vandoorne arrived in Valencia on Monday, and will complete a gruelling schedule that will see him test the car for two days before flying to Austin, Texas on Wednesday night in order to join up with McLaren on Thursday for the US Grand Prix.
“I’ve been combining both [F1 and Formula E], and jumping from one to the other has made my schedule pretty busy, but I’m definitely not complaining. I’m looking forward to Formula E and to a new challenge.”
After two barren seasons with McLaren, Vandoorne says he’s looking forward to a fresh start in Formula E and added that he may not have stayed with McLaren for 2019 even if his seat not been offered to Norris.
“That’s hard to say. Ultimately, it was McLaren’s decision. They had an option on me, which obviously they didn’t take,” he said.
“I was a free agent after that so when I had the first contact with Toto about Formula E I was pretty convinced this was the right thing for me.
“I’m looking forward to the future first of all, and it’s nice to have a fresh start and to come into a new environment, a new challenge. I’m looking forward to getting back to the results I was having previous to F1.”
Vandoorne hinted that his long-term future may now be in Formula E, adding that F1 had not worked out for him in the way he had hoped.
“My time in F1 has not been easy, for various reasons, my time at McLaren was probably the worst timing to be there,” he said.
“I’ve had a great experience in Formula 1, I’ve learned a lot and made a lot of good friends at McLaren. It’s a shame that it didn’t work out, but that’s the way it is, I need to move on now and I’m just looking forward to a good future.”
Image Credit: Formula E
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