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Ian James

After 125 years of motorsport history, Mercedes-Benz is about to write a new chapter in the upcoming season: at the opening round of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Saudi Arabia in late November, two all-electric race cars will be fielded by the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team for the first time.

Occupying the two Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 cockpits will be ex-Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne and current FIA Formula 2 championship leader Nyck de Vries. 

“In Stoffel and Nyck, we have recruited two formidable and adaptable drivers who can continue to learn and grow with us in our debut season in Formula E,” says Ian James, Team Principal of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team. “At Mercedes-Benz, we can look back on 125 years in motor racing. However, we know that Formula E is very different from any other series we have ever competed in. We are doing everything we can to achieve success, but we know that we have a steep learning curve ahead of us.”

In its debut season, the team will draw on the knowledge and combined motorsport expertise of the Mercedes family. At the heart of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 is the electric powertrain which has been designed and developed at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth, UK which is the Daimler Group’s global centre of excellence for high-performance hybrid technology. Brixworth also continue to develop the hybrid power units with which Mercedes has achieved the Formula 1 championship double in each of the past five years.

Responsibility for managing the cars on race weekends has been assigned to HWA AG, the Affalterbach-based motorsport specialist which has already gained a wealth of experience in Formula E last season with its own team HWA RACELAB. The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team also receives support from the reigning Formula 1 constructors champions, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, at Brackley.

“The collaboration between Affalterbach, Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart is going to be hugely important,” adds Ian James, who was officially introduced as Team Principal at the IAA in Frankfurt. “Fortunately for us, the experts who develop our Formula E powertrain have already accumulated a great deal of experience with Formula 1 hybrid power units. This knowledge transfer is helping us immensely, but Formula E is a completely different challenge, and we shouldn’t underestimate that fact.”

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Play on YouTube
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Play on YouTube

The drivers: Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries

In its line-up of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries for the debut season, the team has recruited a driver with prior Formula E experience and a highly promising young talent.

After his rookie year with HWA RACELAB, Stoffel is about to embark on his second season in the electric racing series. At the same time, he can look back on experience gained in 41 Formula 1 Grands Prix. “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Mercedes,” says Stoffel. “I’ve already gained experience of the series racing for HWA last year. I am very pleased to have now become an official member of the Mercedes family. The arrival of Mercedes on the scene is a great opportunity for all of us. The car looks fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a team. The potential is huge, and I simply can’t wait to get started.”

Nyck De Vries
Stoffel Vandoorne

Nyck is about to commence his debut season in Formula E. With four races still remaining in the 2019 FIA ​​Formula 2 Championship, he currently leads the drivers’ standings. The final round is scheduled to take place as part of the support programme to the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi one week after Nyck’s Formula E debut. 

“It’s a very special feeling to be asked to drive for Mercedes-Benz EQ in Formula E, and I am honoured that the team have chosen me as one of their two drivers,” says Nyck. “Formula E is a great platform that has already established itself as one of the biggest and most professional racing series outside Formula 1. It’s a great opportunity, for which I’m really grateful to Mercedes. I’ve had an excellent reception from the team, and it’s great fun to work with them. But ultimately, it will all depend on the performance on the race track once the season starts. It’s all pretty new to me. That’s why I honestly haven’t thought about setting myself any targets for my rookie season. Essentially, Mercedes are aiming to be contenders for race wins and championship trophies. Hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later. But until then, the team and I expect a steep learning curve before we can become truly competitive.”

Nyck has known his new team-mate for many years, having spent time together in karting. “The motorsport family is quite small, and you get to know each other at a young age,” says Nyck. “I’m looking forward to driving for the same team as Stoffel. He has a lot of experience and is a great driver. Consequently, I’m hoping to learn a lot from him so that, together, we can get the best possible result for the team.”

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