Vandoorne says Mercedes boss Wolff called him about HWA FE interest
|By Andrew van de Burgt and Alex Kalinauckas||Tuesday, October 16th 2018, 18:18 GMT|
McLaren Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne has revealed he was first approached by Toto Wolff about joining the Mercedes-affiliated HWA Formula E team he will race for in 2018/19.
Vandoorne will lose his F1 drive at the end of the season, but was announced as Gary Paffett's team-mate at HWA on Monday.
The Belgian's McLaren exit was announced in early September, and he explained that Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff contacted him about an opening at HWA that same month.
"I had the first contact in about September I would say," Vandoorne said.
"I actually had a phone call with Toto and he asked if I would be interested to join HWA for the Formula E project and I didn't really have to think about that.
"HWA as a team - they've done extremely well in the past and just last weekend won the championship in DTM as well - so a lot of talented people [are] there.
"The plans for the future were looking very exciting, so when I had the chance to join Formula E with HWA and knowing what the future holds - I didn't really have to think twice."
Vandoorne was only able to complete 13 laps on the first day of FE's official 2018/19 pre-season testing, which got underway at Valencia on Tuesday, as a battery problem meant he could not run in the afternoon session.
He finished 19th in the day one standings, but insisted such teething-problems were to be expected.
"I've had two days in the car before coming here, so I kind of have a little bit of a feeling already of what the car is doing, how everything is behaving," said Vandoorne, who will miss the final day of the test when he travels to contest the US Grand Prix for McLaren.
"Obviously today was a bit difficult for us - we missed quite a lot of running because of a few issues.
"But I think it was always going to be that way - the team is completely new, there's a lot of things we have to get on top of and the aim for this test is to get everything right operationally and make sure we get all the procedures right and turn up with hopefully a good package in the first race in Riyadh."