Mercedes-EQ and Stoffel Vandoorne head to the Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix Rounds 15 & 16, 13 & 14 August, looking to sign and seal both the Teams' and Drivers' World Championships - with the Belgian sitting some 36 points clear of his closest rival Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing).
Vandoorne's last four rounds have been mighty - four consecutive top four finishes while those around him in the title race have faltered. Add two podiums into the mix and his 11-point deficit to then-leader Edoardo Mortara after Marrakesh became the expansive lead it is today. Outscore his rivals on Saturday, and Vandoorne is the Season 8 champion - that's beyond doubt. He sees Seoul as a proper test, though, and knows better than to take anything for granted in Formula E whilever there's still enough points on the board for him to be toppled.
"It looks like we are in for a tricky weekend in Seoul, partly because of the weather, but also with it being a new track for all of us," says Vandoorne. "So, there are quite a few unpredictable factors in the run-up. For me, though, it's just a race like any other. Sure, it's the last race weekend of the season, so maybe it's a bit more important in terms of deciding the championship, but that doesn't change my mindset or my approach.
"I don't want to change what I have been doing since the start of the year. I think it even represents an opportunity for us: it's a new track with new conditions, and as a team, we do quite well in preparing for those kinds of events. Hopefully we can capitalise on that ability this time as well."
"As a team, we are in a really good position currently, however, we will need to finish the task at hand," adds teammate and outgoing champion Nyck de Vries. "We cannot rest yet, and the past success this season is no guarantee for a good result this weekend. However, the capabilities and strengths of the team make me feel confident that we can deliver a beautiful and fitting end to this chapter as a team."
Signing off in style
The German manufacturer's current spell in Formula E comes to a close after the final chequered flag falls in Seoul. Mercedes will be replaced by McLaren on the grid for Season 9 with the team, operationally, staying in-place. Team Principal Ian James feels its key to sign off on the highest note possible, and at the moment, the outfit are well placed to do just that.
"We are about to hit the track for the very last time as the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team this weekend," says James. "After three incredible seasons in Formula E, Mercedes-EQ will leave the series. However, before we say our goodbyes, there is an exciting and important task at hand: we want to end the season and this journey on a high.
"We've put ourselves in a great position to do so. Over the past years, we've been building a team capable of delivering the best results, and so far this season the team has proven itself worthy. That being said, we approach this race weekend as every other race weekend; with a good dose of humility and determination. The competition has been stronger than ever this season and are rightfully on the hunt for the ultimate end result."
Published on 11th August 2022
3 min read