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Vandoorne: Formula E cars more difficult to drive than F1

  • Published on 08 May 2020 11:23
  • comments 7
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Stoffel Vandoorne believes the challenge of driving a Formula E car outweighs the difficulty of being behind the wheel of a Formula 1 machine.

Vandoorne is currently taking part in his second Formula E season, competing with Mercedes alongside 2019 Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries.

The Belgian switched to the all-electric series after losing his seat on the F1 grid at McLaren to Lando Norris for the 2019 campaign.

Having gained competitive experience in both competitions, Vandoorne says the cars in Formula E pose a greater challenge to drivers.

“I honestly think that the Formula E car is more difficult to drive,“ Vandoorne told Sporza. “There is very little grip, because we always drive with the same tyres that work both in the rain and on the dry and there is hardly any downforce.

"Braking in particular is very difficult because of the systems that recover energy during braking. Because it is so easy to make a mistake, it is so difficult to drive the perfect lap.”

Formula E podium more satisfying than F1 points

Vandoorne secured a podium in his first year in Formula E, as well as a pole position. In F1, his highest race finish was two seventh-place finishes in 2017.

The 26-year-old says the sense of satisfaction of finishing in the top three in Formula E compared to a points result in F1 is much greater. 

"For most major manufacturers, Formula E has now really become a marketing platform, especially with the great focus on electric cars," Vandoorne stated.

"The championship is also starting to get very competitive. The cars are much more closely matched than in Formula 1, which makes it more exciting.

When asked if he would prefer a top ten finish in F1 or a podium in Formula E, he replied: "A podium in Formula E gives me more satisfaction.

"Don't get me wrong, I really like to be in the top ten in Formula 1 which is a great achievement, but it depends so much on the team you drive for. If you are fifth in a Mercedes, you can't be satisfied.

"But in Formula E you know that, even with not quite as good equipment, you can be in the top five with the perfect race."

Replies (7)

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  • Oh Stoffel... I still think you could do something in F1 but this kind of talk.... Sounds like he's convincing himself that F1 isn't where he wants to be. His explanation about FE is actually a good one to outline why the category has such bad racing. Clunky slow cars with all weather tyres that can't generate any downforce but can't brake properly either

    • + 1
    • May 8 2020 - 14:40
    • Nah, he is just doing an Alonso: talking up yourself and your performances based on "for us in the peanut gallery hard to prove" points.

      • + 0
      • May 8 2020 - 18:08
    • I don't know... Alonso is a whole different level though... You get to talk yourself up when winning WEC, LeMans twice, Daytona.

      Also, Stoffel left F1 because he had no other offers from anyone. Alonso well... we know that story.

      • + 0
      • May 8 2020 - 20:09
    • I was more thinking about his later F1 period, saying "this was my best performance ever" in an at best midtier car. We just don't know if it was.

      • + 0
      • May 8 2020 - 20:47
  • Bilstar

    Posts: 54

    You'd never guess judging by his driving of one. Waheyyyyy.

    • + 0
    • May 8 2020 - 15:00
  • f1dave

    Posts: 782

    I stopped reading at "Stoffel Vandoorne believes".

    • + 0
    • May 8 2020 - 16:26
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    trying to drive a FE car like a F1 car there is the first comment to question his ability and judgement

    • + 0
    • May 9 2020 - 02:28

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