Vandoorne anticipating Mercedes call after season six development effort
Vandoorne raced for the Mercedes-affiliated HWA team during his rookie season this year, scoring a career-best finish of third place at the Rome E-Prix in April.
As part of his association with Mercedes, Vandoorne has also conducted the majority of development work on its season six Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 car and feels his hard work will hopefully count for something when a decision is taken on the German squad’s driver lineup.
“I hope fairly soon [I will find out]. I mean, I feel in a strong position and I want to be there next year,” Vandoorne told E-Racing Magazine.
“I think after having put the effort in this year and kind of laying the foundation, the groundwork for the team, I think it would be kind of logical [for me] to continue. That’s what I’m targeting so yeah, we’ll see.”
Asked if he feels he’s done enough to convince Mercedes of his long-term potential, Vandoorne pointed toward his Rome podium finish and a number of eye-catching qualifying performances that he feels are proof enough of his pace this year.
“Yeah, for sure [I feel I’ve done enough]. I feel like I’ve been very strong,” said Vandoorne.
“I’ve been pushing them in a good direction in terms of development, in terms of what the things are to focus on. I managed to do some really good jobs this year, pole position in Hong Kong, podium in Rome and some other good qualifying performances.
“So yeah, I feel like I wanna challenge more at the front, you know? I think with Mercedes coming in, whatever they do, or what they manage to do, they will have a strong package.
“I think it’s difficult for any manufacturer to come in and dominate this series. I think that’s impossible, but I think they’ll be able to build a strong car and I’d love to be part of that.”
Vandoorne also suggested that Mercedes’ preparation has so far been relatively smooth ahead of its debut in November but feels it’s too soon to suggest what’s achievable once the team starts racing.
“The first impressions are good. I think the baseline they have is strong but it’s so hard to tell [in testing] when you’re not driving on street circuits,” he said.
“They are the relevant circuits we are going to and also when you have no competition around, in this championship you’re fighting within a couple of tenths. It’s very hard to feel those last few hundreds or tenths that you need to extract from the package, so we’ll see.”
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