Mercedes Formula E: Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries announced as season-six drivers
Mercedes has taken the wraps off the livery for its full works Formula E entry, which will coincide with the beginning of the electric single-seater series' sixth season in November.
Mercedes had a presence in Formula E during the 2018/19 season in the form of the HWA Racelab 'pathfinder' team, with drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett finishing 16th and 19th in the final points table as they gathered experience ahead of Mercedes' fully fledged arrival.
Ex-McLaren F1 driver Vandoorne has been retained for the shift to a full works effort, but Paffett has been replaced by young Dutchman Nyck de Vries, a former member of both the McLaren and Audi young driver programmes and a current FIA Formula 2 competitor, where he leads the driver's standings with four races remaining in the 2019 season.
Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show announcement of the programme, de Vries said: "It’s a very special feeling to be asked to drive for Mercedes in Formula E… I honestly haven’t thought about setting myself any targets for my rookie season… the team and I expect a steep learning curve before we can become truly competitive."
Vandoorne added: "I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Mercedes. I’ve already gained experience of the series racing for HWA last year… I'm looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a team. The potential is huge."
The car, which will be known as the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01, shares its bodywork and Williams Advanced Engineering battery with the rest of the Formula E field.
It's driven by a bespoke electric motor and transmission developed by Mercedes High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth, Northamptonshire – the same division responsible for the marque's multiple F1 championship-winning hybrid power unit.
German outfit HWA, which ran the Racelab team, will continue to operate the Mercedes Formula E entry on-track, with support from the Brackley, Northamptonshire-based F1 team.
Mercedes' opposition in the upcoming Formula E season will include fellow series debutant Porsche, which recently took the wraps off its 9XX contender, as well as established competitors Audi, Nissan, DS, BMW and Jaguar.
The season kicks off in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on 22-23 November this year.