Dismal day for HWA RACELAB at the Marrakesh E-Prix

Round two of the ABB FIA Formel E Championship ended with two retirements for HWA RACELAB. Both Gary Paffett and Stoffel Vandoorne had struggled with technical issues during qualifying at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan in Morocco. In the race itself, the fightback came to an abrupt end on lap one: a collision involving both drivers brought their race to a premature end.

  • Gary Paffett and Stoffel Vandoorne fail to finish 
  • Gary Paffett: "It is a case of mixed feelings after the race here in Marrakesh - ultimately, however, it has been a frustrating day."
  • Stoffel Vandoorne: "That was very disappointing, but we will look to bounce back in Santiago.”
  • Ulrich Fritz: "Everyone has worked so hard in recent weeks, but they were not rewarded for their efforts today."

Marrakesh, 12th January 2019 – The Marrakesh E-Prix started promisingly for HWA RACELAB: the team from Affalterbach kicked off the race day with positive results in the first free practice session at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan. Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished 17th at the opening race of the season in Riyadh, was eleventh fastest in his VFE05. Gary Paffett, who failed to finish in Riyadh, was also within touching distance of the top ten with the twelfth-fastest time. 

The new team then suffered its first set-back in qualifying: drive problems meant Paffett had to settle for 19th place on the grid. A power shutdown also foiled Vandoorne's flying lap, forcing the Belgian to start race two of the season from the very back of the field. 

Fans witnessed an eventful start to the 45-minute race, with several drivers falling victim – including the HWA RACELAB duo. A collision involving the two team-mates in turn one resulted in Vandoorne having to return to the pits, from which he never re-emerged. Paffett suffered a puncture as a result of the collision, which also forced the British driver to retire. 

Quotes on the race   

Gary Paffett (37, England, car number 17), DNF
"It is a case of mixed feelings after the race here in Marrakesh. We had a good practice in the morning, when everything ran smoothly. The pace was good and I was very happy with the car. We did not have any issues at all, it was a really good start to the day. Things were a little worse in qualifying. We had balance issues and the car was more difficult to drive. We also had problems with the power units, which resulted in us having to start from well down the grid. In the race itself, Stoffel braked a little too late into turn one and hit me from the side, causing damage to the car. I then suffered a puncture shortly after and was forced to retire. It is a shame, because the pace in practice was actually really good. However, we have learned a lot over the course of the weekend and will be better prepared as a result - ultimately, however, it has been a frustrating day."

Stoffel Vandoorne (26, Belgium, car number 5), DNF
"Unfortunately, that was a very short race for us. It was all over by turn one. The conditions were tricky at the start, with a lot of smoke and poor visibility. A lot of cars were swerving about and came off the track. I was possibly a little overambitious and was unable to avoid hitting Gary in all the turmoil. It is sad that we were not able to finish the race. It would have been valuable for us to get some kilometres under our belt. Very disappointing, but we will look to bounce back in Santiago."

Ulrich Fritz, Team Principal HWA RACELAB
"That was nothing short of disastrous. First the issues with the power shutdown during qualifying, then the two cars hit each other in turn one. That is obviously something that should never happen. Unfortunately, however, that was the case today. I feel sorry for the whole team. Everyone has worked so hard in recent weeks, but they were not rewarded for their efforts today. However, I am confident that the results will come if we continue to work the way we have done so far.”

The next round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship Is the Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix on 26th January 2019.

About HWA AG
HWA AG is an independent, 360° engineering specialist in the fields of automobile racing and high-performance cars. Formed in 1998 by Hans Werner Aufrecht, the company is based in Affalterbach (Germany) and employs roughly 300 highly-qualified members of staff. HWA AG offers all its products and services under the motto ENGINEERING SPEED: The company’s objective is to develop the best possible, high-quality solutions, in order to get its partners and customers to their destination quicker. The portfolio of services ranges from designing all vehicle components to assembling complete cars, together with the relevant logistics, after-sales and support services.

HWA RACELAB is HWA AG’s operations team in motorsport. It brings together experienced specialists in high-quality race engineering and the associated services, in pursuit of success on the motorsport scene. HWA RACELAB will enter Formula E as a new team in the 2018/19 season, adding a future-oriented string to HWA’s wealth of racetrack expertise. Furthermore, HWA RACELAB will race in the new, international FIA Formula 3 championship in 2019. With eleven Drivers’ titles and over 180 race wins as a works team for Mercedes-AMG in the DTM, the company is one of the most successful players in international motorsport. HWA RACELAB also draws on the company’s other core areas of expertise, such as the development, assembly and running of GT cars for customer racing, as well as the assembly of Formula 3 race engines.


Oliver Kapffenstein
Motorsport Communications, Formula E

tel:            +49 (0) 711 17 57 00 4
mob:         +49 (0) 160 8 67 47 97
email:       o.kapffenstein@hwaag-partner.com

Marlene Wieland
Motorsport Communications, Formula E

tel:            +49 (0) 711 17 51 80 3
mob:         +49 (0) 160 8 62 80 80
email:       m.wieland@hwaag-partner.com