"No chance against Jaguar & Porsche so far" - How Formula E champion Vandoorne plans to end results slump
After winning the title in the 2022 Formula E season, expectations were high for Stoffel Vandoorne. As the reigning champion, he is getting into the car for DS Penske this year. In the first half of the year, however, the Belgian often had to admit defeat to his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. Now Vandoorne is calling for more offensive E-Prixs.
2022 was the year of Stoffel Vandoorne. In the service of the German-British team Mercedes-EQ the Belgian only scored one victory (in the Monaco E-Prix), but kept himself in the title fight thanks to markedly consistent results. At the final race in Seoul, he finally trumped his world championship rival Mitch Evans (Jaguar) and thus deservedly secured his first title in the championship.
Following the exit of the "Silver Arrows", he switched to DS Automobiles. The French automaker teamed up with U.S.-based racing team Penske for the current 2023 season to mount a renewed assault on the Formula E crown. But so far, the alliance's success has been limited to the garage half of Vandoorne's new teammate, Jean-Eric Vergne.
Vandoorne with teething troubles
While the Frenchman has already scored three podiums - in Hyderabad even as race winner - and is among the extended leading group in the championship, Vandoorne seems to be having starting difficulties in his new environment. His sobering results sheet after nine races: 28 points, no top 5 results, only championship position 11. "The team structure is quite different," the 31-year-old sets out to explain talking to 'e-Formula.news'. "That also affects the work processes, which are somewhat different in all racing teams. In general, though, things are actually going pretty well."
"The start of the year was difficult because we probably didn't understand everything about the new car yet," Vandoorne recalls. "But we're making progress, especially in qualifying. Qualifying up front is always good. Next, we need to focus more on our race performance."
"Fight fighting races instead of defending races"
In particular in the Sao Paulo and Berlin, when he only finished 6th despite taking pole position just a couple of hours earlier, the Formula E veteran remained unusually inconspicuous - especially compared to Vergne. "JEV did very well," Vandoorne praised his teammate. "But in some situations I was also just unlucky," he alludes to the accident with Dan Ticktum (Nio 333) in the first of the two races in Germany.
"But the truth is that right now we don't have the pace to fight Jaguar and Porsche for wins. Even when we weren't leading in Berlin, we had a higher energy consumption than them. That's why my main goal for the rest of the season is to be able to fight fighting races instead of defending races." Vandoorne will get his next opportunity to do that in just over a week, when the electric series travels to Indonesia for the Jakarta E-Prix (June 3-4).