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“As soon as the Formula 1 exit, return very difficult’

The lost dream of rastalent Stoffel Vandoorne

“As soon as the Formula 1 exit, return very difficult’

Hip, exciting and fast-growing. But much slower and sporting a giant step back. The possible transition of Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E generates mixed feelings. “I would prefer that he make it a year of trying in the Formula 1. For example, as a test pilot at Ferrari.’

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Formula E cars racing in the streets of Brooklyn, New York. In the short racing circuits can be almost everyone win. usa today sports

The lost dream of rastalent Stoffel Vandoorne

“As soon as the Formula 1 exit, return very difficult’

Hip, exciting and fast-growing. But much slower and sporting a giant step back. The possible transition of Stoffel Vandoorne to the Formula E generates mixed feelings. “I would prefer that he make it a year of trying in the Formula 1. For example, as a test pilot at Ferrari.’

Nico Tanghe

BrusselHij was the great hope of the Belgian Formula 1 enthusiast, who quietly thought that finally someone had risen in the footsteps enter Jacky Ickx – two time runner up at the worlds in the king’s class of motorsport – or, at a minimum, Thierry Boutsen. The only two countrymen who ever Grand Prix win.

Since the last victory of Boutsen, in 1990, still waiting on a successor. Not that there were no countrymen who have tried it. But for many reasons did Bertrand Gachot, Eric Van de Poele, Philippe Adams, Jerome D Ambrosio or Bas Leinders never to the high expectations to solve.

To Vandoorne two years ago with a McLaren-Honda-tenth ended in his first Grand prix, well for the first point of the season for Mclaren. And that while he was actually cold in his car was dropped, with only test kilometres behind the choose. Seasoned ex-Formula 1 drivers like Johnny Herbert, David Coulthardt and Martin Brundle, one of the thickest paid tv consultants in the paddock, the nice pictures of the West-Flemish people from Rumbeke, then with praise. Stunning! A top talent! Ready for the Formula 1!

Tweederangsmateriaal

Vandoorne would drive as a second pilot in the German Formula E-team HWA, that Mercedes is closely linked

Of that euphoria of the time, seems today little about it. After two years full of bad luck hit Vandoorne at the beginning of september his seat at McLaren lost the benefit of the 18-year-old Lando Norris, making his future in Formula 1 suddenly became uncertain. Especially when the last free seats in the Formula 1 over the last few weeks one by one to the other pilots went.

The past weeks were in circulation, there are plenty of rumors about the future of Vandoorne: so he would in the American IndyCar can get to work or as a test driver, but according to the latest reports, it may be the Formula E, the electric equivalent of Formula 1. And more determined as the second pilot in the German Formula E-team HWA, that Mercedes is closely connected. But quite sure is not. Monday we know more. Then HWA his new team for in home base in Affalterbach.

“Or Vandoorne has failed? It is just very sad for Stoffel. He was just the wrong man at the wrong time. Given the circumstances, it was almost impossible for him to break through at McLaren, ” says Bas Leinders, who was at the RACB National Team, one of the discoverers of Vandoorne. “He’s just not treated fairly.’

Stoffel Vandoorne know Monday may be more about his future. picture alliance

Franklin Tack, one of the many sponsors of the first hour of Stoffel Vandoorne know why. “It’s all about money, hey. Not to the pure rijtalent. Stoffel has McLaren never a real chance. He was often tweederangsmateriaal and could never defend against his team-mate: Fernando Alonso’, he sighs on the phone.

Tack was one of the dozens of West-Flemish self-employed persons who Vandoorne at the beginning of his career financially helped. ‘How old Stoffel was then? 14 years of age. His father was a decorator, and worked often for my company (in Aquastra from Lauwe, ed.). He had the money needed to kartinghobby of his son to finance it. And one thing led to another, ” he explains.

Too little sponsorship money

Since then, continues to Tack his poulain from Rumbeke monitor. He was this year along with father Patrick present at Francorchamps and at his first Formula 1 race in Australia. Not as a sponsor, that should not be more since Mclaren in 2013, took over. And that Tack is clearly a pity. ‘Stoffel has the talent. He is good in one against one duels, and knows like no other tires on to save up for in the final laps to make the difference. He is also very strong in the rain. But he has over the past years a lot of adversity.”

In the Formula, E is the decision is often only in the last round, making the races more exciting than the ‘boring’ Formula 1

Or is there still a future for Vandoorne is in the king’s class of motorsport, know Tack. ‘That has Stoffel need money, lots of money. And that there is in Belgium not.’ Leinders is on the same line. ‘Boutsen brought in 1984, ten million francs on sponsorship. Vandoorne did it only on his talent. That is exceptional (sigh) Maybe he had the past two years, more time should be spend on the search of Belgian sponsors.’

Still, both that Vandoorne in the towel not just in the ring to throw. ‘Once you get the Formula 1 is released, is to return very difficult. I would him recommend to try as a test pilot or simulatorpiloot at a large renstal. Ferrari for example, who supply engines to Sauber and Haas. If there’s a place is released, Stoffel is the first in the row’, emphasises Leinders. ‘Daniil Kvyat, a Russian, who Vandoorne in the lower brackets are repeatedly knocked, succeeded in that way in order to next season to make a comeback at Toro Rosso.’

Al is also a switch to Mercedes and the Formula E a realistic option. Vandoorne would not be the first Belgian that same transition. Jerome D Ambrosio (on the American Dragon Racing) went five years ago, the West-Flemish are all for. In anticipation of white smoke, highlighted Leinders, however, insists that there are still other options are. ‘A temporary transfer to the Japanese Super Formula, for example, such as Stoffel did the same in 2016, as he loses that sense of speed. It is also good to combine with a job as simulatorpiloot in the Formula 1’, he continues to hope for a different outcome.

But perhaps it is so, the Formula E, a racing series that is in full development. More and more major automobile manufacturers see this as an ideal showcase for the sale of their new electric cars. There are now ten teams in Formula E, of which half consists of the traditional brands. And next season there are also Mercedes and Porsche.

Unpredictable

The unpredictable nature of the Formula E and the fact that mainly in the streets of cities around the world is raced – such as hong Kong, Marrakech, Rome, Berlin, Paris and New York – gave the electrical counterpart of the Formula 1 is a huge boost. Not least because in the short stratencircuitsbijna anyone can win. And the decision often falls into the last round. So the races usually more exciting than the ‘boring’ Formula 1.

Add to this a well thought-out and clever use of social media. Fans can, for example, their favorite pilot one-off extra energy by allowing them to like it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It is not surprising that last season already 338 million people to an E-race looking on. A fast-growing audience that’s not only much more diverse than in the Formula 1 – read: more women – but also younger. So the electric brother of the Formula 1 has a golden future seems to be going.

And yet, Leinders is not impressed. “The Formula E is serious. But the top speeds of Formula 1 are in the E-class is still very far away. They drive also with relatively heavy cars (The cars must be inclusive of any director at least 880 pounds, of which 320 kg of batteries, ed.) and without slick tyres. All racing tires have profiles to link with the straatwagens to stress.’

And there is still a noticeable difference. The sound is different. A swarm of bees, fighter jets in the distance, yes, even aliens. The high buzzing sound of the electric racing cars of Formula E is already just about everything compared. In reality the car’s a whistling sound of about 80 decibels, where a normal car is around the 70 decibels produces and a bus is about 90 decibels. But of course that’s nothing compared to the roaring engines on the starting grid of the Formula 1. Though Leinders, there is no problem. ‘The sound is of secondary importance. Also the racing should be with his time.”

For the rest there are especially a lot of similarities. Of the E-pilots is a lot of concentration and insight asked. And tactics remains very important: who is economical to drive, has at the end of the enough power on to have some competitors to catch up. Something Vandoorne particularly well.

The long shadow of Ickx

But someone like ex-world champion Alonso, the former teammate of Vandoorne, that seems not to be able to entice to the Formula E about to steps. “I have always said that I was the best driver of the world wants, and the Formula E is entirely too new to prestige to achieve. This being said, who knows if that with the years will come”, said Alonso in a recent front press office Global Motorsport Media.

And also Leinders is skeptical. The Formula E ever Formula 1 replacement? I don’t think so. The two classes ever merge? Perhaps. There are already a lot of hybrid and electric elements used in the Formula 1 cars. But that is only something for about ten to fifteen years.”

Until that time, the Formula 1, is undeniably sporty, the highest possible. And it remains to wait for the Belgians that the long shadow of Jacky Ickx and Thierry Boutsen can escape. To Stoffel Vandoorne to decide whether he still wants to. The talent for this he has. Now the pennies. And a lot of luck.

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