Mercedes' De Vries: 'We're here to defend our titles'

Mercedes-EQ has rung in the changes in the off-season having sealed a title double, and Formula E's first FIA World Championship honours in Season 7.

Nyck de Vries sealed the Drivers' title on home soil for the manufacturer in Berlin in the final round of the season, and the mission for this week's Valencia test is making sure he's well placed to hold on to those trophies.

Since the final chequered flag fell in the German capital, Mercedes has relocated its entire Formula E race operation from HWA AG’s headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany to Brackley in Oxfordshire, where its Formula 1 team is based. That's meant its been flat-out since August.

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"It’s been very busy since Berlin, "says de Vries. "I had six days just after Le Mans but it ended up being interrupted. It’s exciting to hit the ground running here. We’ve a bit of change internally because our team structure moved from Germany to England. There’s a lot of work that had to be done after Berlin and still has to be done, so we’ve been pushing hard to be ready for Valencia.

"There are some power changes and some other regulations that have changed – including the qualifying format – so, we’re getting ready for that and learning.

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"We’re here to defend our championships and our goal is to finish our journey here in Formula E on a high. We’re up against a lot of strong teams and drivers so it will require the maximum from all of us."

Mercedes-EQ and de Vries looked to be on a different programme to the rest on Monday afternoon in Valencia, with the pair four seconds shy of the ultimate pace, and the slowest two runners. In the opening session, de Vries and Vandoorne wound up ninth and 10th.