Vandoorne finding more joy in FE without 'politics' of F1 paddock

Ex-McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne says he is enjoying Formula E following his Formula 1 exit because of the difference in camaraderie between drivers and paddock "politics"

Vandoorne finding more joy in FE without 'politics' of F1 paddock

After graduating to F1 as a GP2 champion and Formula Renault 3.5 runner-up, Vandoorne failed to make an impact over two seasons with poor machinery, and was outqualified by team-mate Fernando Alonso at every race in 2018.

He has since switched to FE with the new HWA team.

Asked if he felt he was disadvantaged being two-time world champion Alonso's team-mate in F1, Vandoorne told Autosport: "It is hard to tell. I can't change what happened and I also have no regrets of whatever happened of my time at McLaren.

"It definitely was not the best moment in my career after everything was running kind of smooth before, but I think it made me stronger.

"There were a lot of things that I didn't have in control myself as well, but it was character building and now I moved on.

"I'm in a completely different environment, which personally I've been enjoying a lot.

"It is a lot more relaxed because of the way the drivers get on with each other, the politics in the paddock."

Vandoorne is yet to score a point despite qualifying fourth and fifth for two of the three races so far.

The 26-year-old, who will dovetail his commitments with some Mercedes F1 simulator work, hopes his move to HWA could facilitate a "long-term" future in FE.

"F1 is so unpredictable," he said.

"When you look at the driver's market what happened last year was so unpredictable, no one really thought that this was going to happen.

"Some people are there that we thought weren't gonna be there, some people are not there that we thought that were gonna be there.

"I'm not desperately dying to get back to F1."

Autosport says

Scott Mitchell, F1 reporter @ScottAutosport

It's no surprise to hear Stoffel Vandoorne has warmed to Formula E quickly.

While FE is fiercely competitive on-track, drivers are much more relaxed off it and the paddock is a fun place to be.

Conversely, high stakes and the "politics" Vandoorne refers to can make F1 a very unfriendly domain.

F1 weekends involve four full days of official commitments that mean drivers invest a lot of time in activities away from the track and are often highly-strung.

In FE, there is just one day of 'miscellaneous' work. It includes a group media pen instead of independently-organised sessions and it's not uncommon for drivers to undertake promotional activities together and generally just interact more.

Vandoorne is not the first to fail to make a big impact in F1 and try to forge a new reputation in FE, and he will not be the last.

But it's great to see FE is already offering him something equally valuable: some happiness in going racing after a miserable spell in an often cold part of the sport.

shares
comments
The month that can make or break an F1 season
Previous article

The month that can make or break an F1 season

Next article

Burti: Senna safety improvements saved me in 2001 Belgian GP crash

Burti: Senna safety improvements saved me in 2001 Belgian GP crash
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022