Gary Paffett’s rookie FIA Formula E season sees the HWA RACELAB racer head for the team's home E-Prix in Berlin this Friday and Saturday. Motivation is high and the team is confident after the run of points finishes in the past three races. However, different conditions will once again bring a new set of challenges for the team in Berlin.
Race 10 of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship is a very special one for HWA RACELAB and its drivers - Gary Paffett and Stoffel Vandoorne. The team from Affalterbach will be racing on home soil in Germany for the first time. As such, there is great anticipation ahead of this weekend's BMW i Berlin E-Prix presented by CBMM Niobium.
In each of the past three rounds - Rome, Paris, Monaco - an HWA RACELAB driver has finished inside the points and showcased the team’s development since the start of the season. With confidence high, and the team aiming to do well on their home soil, the team has once again set its sights on points and the top 10 in Berlin.
Last time out in Monaco, a disappointing performance in qualifying from Gary meant that he had a huge challenge in front of him to score points. Despite moving forward five-places in the race, Gary was unable to reach the points.
However, Gary and Stoffel have proven over the course of the season that they are more than capable of securing positions towards the front of the grid. When it comes to race pace, the new Formula E team has now found some consistent form.
The format for the weekend is slightly different to usual - unlike at the previous rounds, that saw track action all in one day, the action in Berlin kicks off on Friday with the free practice sessions. Saturday then hosts qualifying at 07:45, with the race then starting at 12:00 that day.
Formula E is making its fifth appearance in the German capital. The 2.375-kilometre, 10 corner circuit is located on the apron of the former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport. The drivers will have to adapt to different grip conditions to those experienced in the races so far. Instead of asphalt, the surface here is concrete, which will put great strain on the tyres.
Looking forward to the team’s home race, Gary is looking to improve his qualifying performance in order to break into the points again.
"The race in Berlin comes at exactly the right time for us. It is the home race for our team, and a lot of people will be there to cheer us on. I am looking forward to it. We were not entirely happy with the result in Monaco. The race pace was very good, but we were not fast enough in qualifying. We must improve in that regard this time out. The car has the pace, we just need to produce a good lap out on the track. There is definitely a good chance for us finishing in the points and getting better results this time."
Ulrich Fritz, Team Principal HWA RACELAB, is determined to bounce back from Monaco but is aware of the challenges that lay ahead of the team this week.
"We left Monaco with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we had a reliable car and Stoffel was subsequently able to score a few points. On the other hand, however, we had hoped to start from higher up the grid. Our team is very determined to make amends this weekend. Berlin is our first home race, so there is a lot of excitement in the team. As the race starts a few hours earlier than usual, and the two practice sessions take place on the Friday, we are faced with a different schedule and another new challenge."
Friday, 24th May: Free practice 1: 14:30 - 15:15 (BST) Free practice 2: 17:00 - 17:30
Saturday, 25th May: Qualifying: 07:45 – 08:21 Super Pole: 08:30 - 08:50 Race: 12:00 Podium ceremony: 13:00