Just Electric

HWA: A Testing First Season

HWA Racelab made their Formula E debut for Season 5 for their one and only season in the all-electric series before Mercedes FE take over the outfit.

Two Mercedes-affiliated drivers were signed for the outfit ahead of their only season in the series with double DTM champion Gary Paffett and former McLaren F1 driver and now Mercedes simulator driver Stoffel Vandoorne completing the line-up.

It was a tough start to the season for HWA with their Venturi powertrain suffering from reliability issues until a change was made. Pace was shown often within the team as they claimed one pole and one podium with Vandoorne.

Key Stats

Wins 0

Poles 1

Fastest Laps (Top 10 Only) 0

Teams’ Championship Position 9th (44 points)

Drivers’ Championship Positions Stoffel Vandoorne – 16th (35 points); Gary Paffett 19th (9 points)

Unreliability played a big part in the first half of the season for the German squad: In the first six races, HWA drivers retired seven times including Marrakesh and Sanya where both cars failed to finish.

Paffett was the first to score points, in Hong Kong, while Vandoorne’s first race points of the season came with his first FE podium in Rome. Unreliability almost played a part in Vandoorne securing his podium, too, as his car broke down on the cool-down lap after the chequered flag.

It was a tough start for HWA but the team will have learnt a lot for when Mercedes takes over the outfit.


5 – Stoffel Vandoorne

Vandoorne entered Formula E after two tough seasons against Fernando Alonso at McLaren in F1. But those tough seasons didn’t impact his Formula E debut where he showed good pace even in a run of bad luck.

He took the team’s only pole and podium of the season, in Hong Kong and Rome respectively, and qualified in the top 10 in seven out of 13 races including the season-opening Ad Diriyah E-Prix

Five points finishes in the final six races showed that Vandoorne and HWA did have the pace once reliability was sorted. His performances throughout did his chances of a Mercedes seat no harm.

17 – Gary Paffett

Paffett won two drivers’ titles in DTM with Mercedes cars, including one with HWA, so it was a sensible choice for HWA to bring him into the Formula E fold.

Like Vandoorne, unreliability plagued the first start of the season, but Paffett was also able to show pace in the HWA.

He did not qualify as well as Vandoorne (four top 10 starts compared to Vandoorne’s seven) but he did make super pole a couple of times to show how competitive he was.

He scored nine points to Vandoorne’s 35 throughout the season but performances, when he was able to show them, were solid for a Formula E rookie.


Jack Amey

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