GlobeAir Brand Ambassador Stoffel Vandoorne

Exclusive interview with Formula E Driver Stoffel Vandoorne

Strong partnerships forged by passion

GlobeAir is a dedicated supporter of motorsports, and with the partnership with Stoffel Vandoorne as our Brand Ambassador, it is a synergy created in passion for speed and power representing both the world of athletes and young professionals. As a multiple season champion and currently driving for Mercedes, Stoffel embodies the key values of GlobeAir.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Stoffel about his love for Formula E, ambitions, never-ending appreciation for his fans, and how racing has always been very closely linked to aviation.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and some of your proudest achievements?

Passion from a young age

I'm Stoffel Vandoore, a Racing Driver for Mercedes EQ in the Formula E championship. I started my career when I was six years old, thanks to my father, who designed a go-kart track near where I was growing up. From accompanying him to his job as an Architect, and started racing for fun and when I started taking part in some competitions it became evident that I had a talent for racing. I continued to pursue this passion which has led me to my achievements today.

Regarding my personal highlights achievements, I would say some of the highlights would include when I won the Belgian go-kart championship in 2008 and the F4 championship in 2010, which was my first season in single-seater cars. One pivotal moment in my career was winning the Formula Renault 2lt championship in 2012, this race decided my career path because I got picked up by McLaren shortly after that in their junior program. Another year that stands out for me in 2015 was when I won the GP2 championship and broke all the records in terms of pole positions, victories and fastest laps. This was one of my best seasons in terms of Pure Performance.

Then I had two seasons in Formula One with the McLaren and now with Mercedes in Formula E.

“Stoffel Vandoorne has been a valuable addition to the pool of our strategic partners. With a shared passion for motorsports, speed and performance, we are proud to stand by his side and help him reach his optimum performance level' Bernhard Fragner, CEO GlobeAir

What made you enter Formula E?

After my F1 chapter, I had a call with Toto Wolff, the team principal at the Mercedes. He wanted me to be part of their Formula E project, which they started at the end of 2018. It was first as a privateer team called HWA, and the last two seasons of the previous season has been the first year as it as a full manufacturer team.

So he wanted me to be part of a kind of build-up to the team's structure, to set it up, to guide the team and move them forward in terms of their developments. We are in our fourth season already, or I'm in my fourth season of Formula E and the third one with Mercedes as a full manufacturers team.

Were you a bit surprised about how fast all of that happened?

I would say yes, I didn't see myself in Formula E. I was always Formula 1 focused and never thought about competing in Formula E myself. I was always following Formula E because I have a lot of racing friends competing in it. I am always surprised by the evolution of formula E, how the championship, cars and technology have evolved, and the number of manufacturers there are participating now in the championship.

I think Formula E is one of the most competitive series. Last season, we officially became an FIA world championship, making it to one of the highest standard championships. I am glad to be part of it because the racing is exhilarating. We're competing for everything on one day; we have all the practice sessions, the qualifying and the race usually on the same day, making it a very intense schedule compared to Formula One.

Together with Nyck de Vries, you make up to a #DreamTeam for Mercedes after the success of the first race this year.

How does it feel to race together?

Nick and I have a good relationship as we have known each other for quite a long time since go-karting, and we've been raised together since 2011 / 12 in Formula Renault 2 litre. We've crossed paths a few times. We also speak the same language as we both speak Dutch, which helps to have a little bit more of a personal relationship.

I think it's essential in Formula E to have two powerful teammates to drive a team forward, push them forward, and score a maximum amount of points. At the same time, there needs to be healthy competition. I think we have a perfect balance where you know we get along.

Still, once we are on track and close the visor, we want to beat each other; we want to be the best, which is needed to achieve maximum performance.

''Racing is about finding the limit and pushing the boundaries. The best drivers in the world are racing against each other and we all want to be the best'' Stoffel Vandoorne

How important is experience besides ability to drive fast in Formula E?

The experience for me is significant as there are so many details and little things that you have to be aware of when you are new to the series.

You don't know how to deal with or don't know how to optimise them. For example, battery energy management is essential. Every race, we have to manage our battery energy and to do this, experience helps in optimising the driving the car as efficient as possible. Even after my third season, if I compare myself to when I entered the series 2years ago, I have taken a considerable step forward.

In terms of understanding the systems on the car and being efficient with the car as much as possible, you feel like the experience helps as you are just more comfortable with dealing with all the systems. After all, it's very busy behind the wheel. There's a lot of information we have on our steering wheel.

We always have to give that information back to our team, so the race is usually very busy.

Which abilities does a Formula E driver have to have today?

Formula E is something different from any other series that I raced in the past, and kind of when I joined Formula E, I had almost relearn everything about driving because everything before was kind of logical. It is a standard step up, and with Formula E, I had to learn some new things because it is an entirely different way of driving the car.

I think in terms of abilities, you need to be able to deal with a lot of numbers and a lot of information on the steering wheel on our Dash because we constantly have to keep on top of for energy management system we get all that feedback displayed on our Dash, but the team can not see what we see so we constantly have to communicate that to them during the race.

The information and the business behind the steering wheel are a lot more than during Formula 1. For example, we also have an attack mode that we have to take care of, giving our car a little more power for 4 minutes during the race. There are just so many things happening during the race, and the fact that we're driving between the walls takes a lot of concentration from the drivers.

What are the key elements of your partnership with GlobeAir?

Flights at the moment are challenging with my schedule and all the championships that I'm competing in for Formula E, the World Endurance Championship and the one Reserve driver. I have a lot of commitments everywhere.

It is challenging to combine all of that lately because availability and flexibility are difficult to find. We are losing many more days travelling than we used to before. Now direct flights are more difficult as they are unavailable, so you have to fly via a specific destination.

You spend more nights in hotels, and to perform at the optimum level, it's essential that you can get home every night. This is valuable to perform the optimum at the optimal level, so that's definitely one of the critical elements to partner with GA.

It is also essential that we stay safe and healthy as athletes. COVID is still around and is still a huge topic. We are always taking the maximum precautions, where we quarantine a lot in specific locations, we're constantly having PCR tests, but we still risk being exposed. In airports and travelling, you know, in general, you run a risk of being exposed to the virus. With GlobeAir, the team is keeping me as safe as possible, and this is one of the critical elements.

GlobeAir is also championing and leading the conversation regarding the Global Warming Crisis. I can fly and receive a certificate for the carbon-neutral offset, which is in line with Formula E, where everything is about sustainability and pushing for a greener world and a greener planet.


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