After the first four races of the season were mired by difficulties, the all-new Formula E outfit for the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, HWA Racelab, head to Hong Kong hoping to claim their first points finish in what looks to be a rain-affected race day in the financial capital.
HWA Racelab are coming off the back of a post-race test at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, where their race drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett managed to turn a combined total of 167 laps. This will enable the German outfit to have a greater understanding of the VFE-05 ahead of this weekend’s 2019 Hong Kong ePrix. But the question is whether they can apply the lessons learned in Mexico to obtain a great race result for the new outfit?
The team has had opportunities in the first four races and have looked quick on occasion, with Vandoorne managing two top five qualifying positions in Ad Diriyah and Santiago respectively. But poor energy management in Ad Diriyah meant there was no chance to score any points, but the Belgian ex-McLaren-Renault Formula 1 racer would have scored the team’s debut points in Santiago not owing to a driver mistake in the race itself. This shows that the team is moving from strength-to-strength throughout the season and ahead of the race in Hong Kong, the Belgian said:
“This is my first time in Hong Kong and I am looking forward to seeing the city. I feel that Hong Kong is the first typical E-Prix circuit of this season, a really uncomfortable track with varying asphalt properties. The weather often poses additional challenges in Asia and can influence the race so we will have to keep an eye on that. Our general aim is to experience a smooth race weekend. We have shown that the car has the pace we need when everything comes together. Hopefully we will be able to prove that and reap the rewards at the weekend.”
Paffett has struggled more throughout the first four races of the season, with a fourteenth-placed finish at Santiago being his and the team’s best result of the season thus far. But the 2018 DTM Series Champion is struggling to adapt to the all-electric single-seater series more so than his younger team-mate. Ahead of Hong Kong, the British racer added:
“We are continuing to make good progress. The race result in Mexico was not what we had hoped for but the test after the race was very good and productive. That was a step in the right direction and I think that our form is improving every weekend. I am looking forward to Hong Kong and to seeing the city as I have never been there before. The atmosphere with the fans in Mexico was unbelievable and I hope we will experience something similar in Hong Kong. We are still battling away for our first points and that is the goal I have set myself for Sunday.”
In light of the threat of rain and the potential advantage to be gained by both cars running in Group Four in qualifying, HWA will be hoping that this is the weekend that they can score a championship point, as they are the only team yet to score after four rounds.