The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team admits that it is facing a steep learning curve as it heads into its first-ever two races in the all-electric championship this weekend.
And with back-to-back races in Diriyah on Friday and Saturday, the squad will have to learn those lessons fast if it’s to avoid giving its rivals an immediate advantage.
“Finally, the day has come that everyone in the team has been working towards,” team principal Ian James commented this week.
“Our two cars will make their first competitive outing this week. We’ve worked hard over the last twelve months to devise the best possible setup and achieve the necessary consistency for our race debut at Diriyah.
“The season opener is not the end of this journey but rather the beginning,” he cautioned. “We are conscious of our status as beginners. We therefore have to learn quickly from errors as they occur and to continue developing as a team.”
James added that the team was aiming “to make our learning curve as steep as possible.”
“Finishing the two races somewhere in the points would obviously be fantastic,” he added. “But no matter how this first race turns out for us, I would like to express my gratitude here and now to the entire team for their tireless efforts.
“What I’ve experienced over the past few months has been the epitome of commitment in terms of teamwork.”
The team has been able to rely on the experience of former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who after leaving F1 a year ago has already completed a season of competition in the ABB FIA Formula E championship with the Mercedes-affiliated HWA Racelab.
“I can hardly wait to get racing again,” commented the Belgian. “Testing is very nice, but it’s good to be switching back to race mode and to see where we are compared to the other teams.
“It’s not going to be easy, and it is hard to make any sort of forecast. We have to stay focused and try not to make mistakes. If we manage to do that, we should be in with a chance of a decent result.”
Vandoorne will be joined on the grid by newly crowned Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries, who like Mercedes is also making his debut in the series.
“I’m very excited about competing in Formula E as a team for the first time and finding out how we shape up on our debut,” said the Dutch 24-year-old Dutch driver.
“I have the feeling that we have bonded together well as a team in the past few weeks. Now I’m ready to race again and to go up against our opponents on the track.”
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