In the run up to the return of Formula E, Last-Lap is looking at every team and analysing their lineup, their livery and their chances in 2021.
Read the other teams previews here:
- Part 1: NIO
- Part 2: Penske Dragon
- Part 3: Venturi
- Part 4: Mahindra
- Part 5: Porsche
- Part 6: Jaguar
- Part 7: Audi
- Part 8: BMW-i Andretti
- Part 9: Envision Virgin
That HWA sacrifice paid dividends didn’t it.
Third place in the Teams standings for a team on their debut, podiums, pole, even a 1-2 finish.
Not bad, not bad at all guys.
Credit where credit’s due, to come into a hugely competitive series and get a win in year one and a podium in race one is unheard of in any championship.
Mercedes had one of the most exciting seasons in 2019/20. Definitely.
The manufacturer now has a year under it’s belt and can go into 2021 and Season 7 knowing what it takes to win.
The main issue was the qualifying. Particularly for Stoffel Vandoorne.
Across most of the Berlin races, both Mercedes cars would qualify poorly. They would be far down the field and would have to make up ground in the races.
This is commonplace for Formula E and to make up ground is much harder than in the early days of the championship now the team performance gulf is so small.
But Vandoorne seemingly always climbed up the field to take a solid points finish. He had great pace and could challenge up front if he started higher.
By the final race, they did. He took pole and Nyck De Vries took fourth. Both had the pace to compete and Vandoorne controlled it to take the win with De Vries passing Sebastien Buemi and René Rast to make it a 1-2 finish.
High quality stuff from the team which secured third in the standings, jumping them up from fifth ahead of Envision Virgin and BMW-i Andretti.
Vandoorne went from 9th to 2nd in the standings finishing as technically the runner up to Antonio Felix Da Costa who had already sealed the championship.
Continuity is the name of the game into Season 7. That’s something they have mastered in Formula 1 (7 titles on the trot, 6 with Hamilton and 1 with Rosberg is no fluke).
If they can carry that winning form over into 2021, they will do very well.
No doubt about it.
Stoffel Vandoorne was snatched up by the Mercedes project from day dot.
As soon as his tenure with McLaren was coming to an end in 2018, he was signed by HWA and raced a couple of weeks later in Saudi Arabia after he was dropped from F1.
He put it on fourth immediately and scored positions that car should never have achieved being a Venturi customer car.
A third place in Rome being the highlight only losing out to the imperious Mitch Evans and Andre Lotterer who were both on another plain that day.
He led the team into the Mercedes constructor era scoring two third places in Saudi Arabia straight off the bat, even challenging Alexander Sims for the lead in the first race.
He has always been an assured and fast head in Formula E. Mercedes knew what they were getting when they hired him and they restored him to his pre Alonso destroyed form. The kind of form that walked GP2 and scored F1 points on debut.
He is always ready for championship tilt, but he is intelligent and realistic.
“What’s most important is that we take the momentum from the final round in Berlin with us into the new season.” said Vandoorne.
“Finishing second in the drivers’ standings and third in the team competition has increased the pressure on everyone in the team to do even better and improve on those results, but we have to remain realistic.
“We’re still only in our second season and Formula E is a very tough world championship series. We had to deal with unusual circumstances last season, which may or may not have played in our favour – it’s difficult to say, but the goal is to contend for wins on a more regular basis.”
Nyck De Vries is a another young driver Mercedes wanted to pinch right from under everyone else’s noses.
His F1 chance wasn’t turning up (for some reason) and the F2 champion was picked up by Mercedes to partner Vandoorne for their first fully fledged season.
He took part in the first two races with an F2 round still to run in Abu Dhabi.
He wasn’t as polished as Vandoorne seeing as he was an out and out rookie from the junior formulae but he was still fast and he was still mature.
He drove to third on the road in his third race at Santiago before a penalty out of his control dropped him back.
He was aggressive all through the rest of the season and took his debut podium in the final race, one that had been a long time coming.
He was learning all the way through his season and is now ready to step out of Vandoorne’s shadow in the team.
“I’ve adapted well. I still have a lot to learn, of course, but we are on the right track.” said De Vries.
“In the championship, too, everything was new and different initially. You are expected to perform straight away, but at the same time, you must first get accustomed to things.
“I’m happy with how quickly we’ve adapted, not just as a team, but also with regard to me personally. Formula E is a very interesting and innovative series – one of the best in my opinion. I think it’s the way forward, and am delighted to be part of it.”
Typical Mercedes fare.
The car is called the Silver Arrow 02 so a slick silver car it is. It’s like one of those concept F1 on FE liveries, but it actually works.
They’ve ditched the black. Which is an interesting point. End Racism is still emblazoned on the halo, whether the F1 team goes down this route is yet to be seen but it is thought they will be staying black.
How will Season 7 go?
This whole piece has spoken about the wonderful way Mercedes acquitted itself to Formula E and how the team is built for consistent improvement.
It is a hard place to improve from, third place, with the might of other teams.
But there are places they can improve on. Mercedes will be even slicker, they will be harder to trip up, they will just be doing everything that little bit better this year and that is crucial to smooth weekends.
Consistent points and good qualifying will be key. They proved they could do well in Berlin. Can they carry that over?
Chances are that’s a big yes and the others should watch out, Mercedes is taking control and you cannot escape.