Mercedes have unveiled their challenger for their first foray into Formula E, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01.
The German manufacturer took the decision to enter into all-electric racing two years ago, and having helped HWA Racelab last season as part of a learning process for Formula E, they will now compete in the 2019-20 season.
HWA will continue to manage the cars on race weekends, but the powertrain used in the cars has been developed in Brixworth, at the same Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains facility that develops their Formula 1 engine.
In joining Formula E they join other major car makers such as BMW, Jaguar, Audi, DS and Nissan, and Team Principal Ian James said he was completely aware of the huge challenge that lies ahead for his team.
“At Mercedes-Benz, we can look back on 125 years in motor racing,” James said. “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.”
Mercedes also announced that FIA Formula 2 championship leader Nyck de Vries will also making his debut in Formula E after impressing the team this year.
The Dutch driver currently holds a commanding 59-point lead, and will compete in his first Formula E race just one week before the F2 championship finale in Abu Dhabi.
He too is expecting a steep learning curve, and said he was setting no targets for his rookie season – although he knew that wins would be expected of the team in the near future.
“Formula E is a great platform that has already established itself as one of the biggest and most professional racing series outside Formula 1,” he said. “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.”
He’ll be joined by Stoffel Vandoorne who returns after his debut season last year with HWA.
After a rocky start for the team he managed to secure a podium for them in Paris, and now with the team passing over to Mercedes he said he couldn’t wait to see what they could achieve.
Vandoorne commented, “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.”
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff shared that enthusiasm, saying that he was looking forward to the challenge that all-electric racing poses.
“Formula E brings all the enthusiasm and passion for racing to city centres, which is an absolutely unique concept,” said Wolff.
“This makes the series a completely new playing field for us. But we are looking forward to the challenge of demonstrating the performance of our battery-electric powertrains in motorsport as well, and of giving a positive boost to the EQ brand.”
The 2019-20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship is due to get underway on November 22 in Ad Diriyah.