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Published 5 months, 1 week ago

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Tales from the paddock: Stoffel Vandoorne: “The most important thing is that we carry forward the momentum into the new season”

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Bahrain, here we come: The 2020 Formula One World Championship has been a season like no other: difficult circumstances that posed immense challenges, an unusual racing calendar and record-breaking performances from Lewis Hamilton and the team. Before a new, shorter track makes its debut on the second of the two weekends, the team will first race on the familiar Bahrain International Circuit. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has won four out of six races since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014, but only once in the past three years.

Testing in Valencia: Season 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship gets underway this coming weekend with the official tests. From Saturday 28 November to Tuesday 1 December with a rest day on Monday, all twelve teams will be working hard during three days of testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo on the outskirts of Valencia, which has been used in the past as a test track for F1 and for other purposes, including the recent MotoGP races.

Four questions for Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne is about to embark on his third season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. He finished the 2019/20 season as runner-up in the drivers’ championship and in season 7 will once again be lining up for the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team.

You finished the season on a high in Berlin. Has that given you a big boost in your preparations for Season 7?

Ending a season with a win always feels real nice, because the momentum stays with you for a while afterwards. Also, it was a victory the team had really deserved to pull off for quite some time. When we finally achieved success, it gave the team and myself an enormous amount of confidence, as we felt we’d ticked off a box. We now know we can do it and must take this momentum with us into the new season which I am really looking forward to, by the way.

How challenging is it for you as a driver to race while having to think about all the strategic elements at the same time?

Formula E is technically very demanding and we invest a lot of time and effort in preparing for race weekends. The reason we spend so long in the simulator before races is because in Formula E, we are contesting one-day events. It serves to reduce the workload out on track to some extent, so that we can focus more on other things. But in the end, things always go differently in the race, no matter how well you plan in advance and regardless of how much time you put into preparations. Ultimately, things never go as expected. Different things keep cropping up that must be dealt with as they happen, requiring good communication between driver and team.

How important is this aspect of working with your engineers?

Stoffel Vandoorne: It’s mega important that you and your engineer understand each other well so that he knows precisely what you mean from what you say as a driver. Everything happens in a split second. You have to stay calm, because there’s so much information to take in, and also, you have to be able to tell him what’s happening so that he can give you the right feedback. That’s very important in Formula E.

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Nov 29, 2020 at 08:00

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