Tales from the paddock – From Formula E debut to Formula 1 finale

November 2019

As the regular season draws to a close, there is no let-up in excitement. A surprise result on the Formula E debut weekend in Diriyah is followed by the Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi.

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula E: Stoffel Vandoorne finishes both races on the podium in debut E‑Prix for Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team – Mercedes-Benz EQ lead the team standings after the first weekend
  • Intercontinental GT Challenge: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and Maximilian Götz claim runner-up spot in manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships
  • GT4 South European Series: Top Three whitewash and double podium for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Estoril

News snippets

Grand finale, here we come: The 2019 Formula 1 season concludes next weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Yas Marina Circuit has so far been a happy hunting ground for Mercedes. Since the start of the hybrid era in 2014, the team has won on each occasion that Abu Dhabi has hosted the race, and on three of them, it was a Mercedes one-two finish (2015 - 2017). Three of the victories were secured by Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2016, 2018) and one each by Nico Rosberg (2015) and Valtteri Bottas (2017). The pole positions have also been monopolised by the Silver Arrows: Nico (2014, 2015) and Lewis (2016, 2018) have each started twice from pole and Valtteri (2017) once. Lewis’s haul of four winner’s trophies makes him the most successful driver under the floodlights of Yas Marina. He registered his first win there with McLaren-Mercedes in the 2011 season. Lewis is also the most successful qualifier in Abu Dhabi with four pole positions (2009 and 2012 with McLaren, 2016 and 2018 with Mercedes). In terms of podium appearances, Lewis and Sebastian Vettel are on level pegging with seven each.

Successful debut: A new era dawned for Mercedes last weekend with the opening fixture of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The team’s first competitive outing in the all-electric racing series produced a pleasant surprise. In the first of the two qualifying sessions, Stoffel Vandoorne staked a place on the front row while team-mate Nyck de Vries booked third. Just a few hours later, in the first e-prix in the history of the brand, Stoffel made it onto the podium – a maiden Top Three finish for a car with the three-pointed star on its grille. The following day, Stoffel repeated the feat to make a second podium appearance for the team. For the Belgian, it was actually podium finish number three in Formula E. In this particular case, though, he had to rely on a helping hand from the stewards who retrospectively bumped him up from fourth to third following an enquiry into a racing incident. The net result was that Mercedes-Benz EQ return from Saudi Arabia with a points haul of 38, which is enough to give them the leaders’ spot in the team classification. After two rounds of the season, Stoffel is second in the drivers’ championship on 30 points, and Nyck is ninth on eight. The start of the new venture has been a successful one, but the team realise the importance of staying focused, because there are still many challenges to surmount in the remaining races of this debut season.

Runners-up and class victory for Mercedes-AMG in the IGTC final in South Africa: The final event of a busy endurance season was every bit as tense as expected. On the fifth and last weekend of this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), the driver combos of the six Mercedes-AMG GT3 were in for an emotional rollercoaster at the restored Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. It ended with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and Maximilian Götz (GER) claiming the runner-up spot in both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships. The revival of the legendary Kyalami 9 Hour got off to a disappointing start for the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach when the number 999 GruppeM Racing car driven by Maximilian Buhk (GER) – up until then, leader in the drivers’ championship – developed a fault on the first lap and had to return to the pits. This spelled the end of the 26-year-old’s title ambitions. As the race progressed, the impressive charge through the field mounted by the number 44 Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing car came to an abrupt halt after a collision with an opponent. From then on, the hopes of the factory contingent were pinned on the number 10 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of SPS automotive performance. Mercedes-AMG specialists Maximilian Götz, Yelmer Buurman (NED) and Luca Stolz (GER) managed to assert their position in the lead group and thereby keep the title race open. A change in weather conditions towards the end of the race caused mass aquaplaning and led to a one-and-a-half-hour safety-car deployment, which allowed the field to close up again one last time. The following restart in still extremely difficult track conditions did not work out in favour of the trio in the number 10 Mercedes-AMG who ultimately had to settle for P5 at the end of a nine-hour race plagued by retirements and interruptions. However, there was a class win to celebrate in the season finale: Dominik Baumann (AUT), Christina Nielsen (DEN) and Adrian Henry D’Silva (MAS) in the number 43 Strakka Racing car recorded a second IGTC class victory in a row after their previous success in the Suzuka 10 Hours. The combined effort of the six Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the Kyalami 9 Hour brought two further class successes: Patrick Assenheimer, Hubert Haupt (both GER) and Sergei Afanasiev (RUS) in the number 6 BLACK FALCON car were runners-up in the Silver Cup, as were Valentin Pierburg, Tim Müller (both GER) and Miguel Ramos (POR) driving the number 40 SPS automotive performance car in the Am category.

Podium lockout and team championship in the GT4 South European Series: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport dominated the season finale of the GT4 South European Series last weekend, rounding off another outstanding campaign with yet another title. After securing the Pro-Am title on their previous outing, Francisco Abreu and Miguel Cristóvão (both POR) went on to wrap up the team classification for Veloso Motorsport. The pairing in the number 88 Mercedes-AMG GT4 won both the first and the second race to score the points needed for the team championship. Meanwhile, the number 33 and number 66 Mercedes-AMG GT4s fielded by Bullitt Racing finished second and third respectively in the first race to make it a one-two-three for the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach. A high-achieving weekend was rounded off by another podium lockout in the second race, this time in the Pro-Am class, as winners Abreu and Cristóvão were followed across the line by the number 33 and 66 cars in P2 and P3 (P3 and P4 overall).

Social Media News

#PurePitWall: Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin answers fans’ questions on the Brazil GP, including why we brought Lewis in during the last safety car and why Valtteri had to retire.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1d-2_LEV2g

#FactoryVisit: Somewhere in the world, somebody will be driving a Mercedes-Benz that Lewis Hamilton helped to build. “The craftsmanship is fantastic. I’m very proud to be a part of it. “

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaqRR4-zt0E

#IGTC / #MercedesAMGMotorsport: In a memorable Kyalami 9 Hour, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport ended the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge as runners-up in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. We have put together the highlights in our video.

Watch video: www.facebook.com/MercedesAMGCustomerRacing/videos/409771713261878/

Press Contact

  • Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Communications Director / F1-Communications
  • Tel: +44 1280 844484


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    Formula E - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team, Diriyah E-Prix 2019. Stoffel Vandoorne
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    Formula E - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team, Diriyah E-Prix 2019. Stoffel Vandoorne
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    Formula E - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team, Diriyah E-Prix 2019. Stoffel Vandoorne
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    Formula E - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team, Diriyah E-Prix 2019. Nyck de Vries
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    Formula E - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team, Diriyah E-Prix 2019. Stoffel Vandoorne Nyck de Vries
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    Formula E - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team, Diriyah E-Prix 2019. Nyck de Vries
  • MercedesAMGCustomerRacing_IGTC_Kyalami_2019_01
    #10 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team SPS automotive performance
  • MercedesAMGCustomerRacing_IGTC_Kyalami_2019_02
    Runner-up drivers' championship: Maximilian Götz
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    Pit stop: #10 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team SPS automotive performance
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    #43 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Strakka Racing
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    Winner Pro-Am: Adrian Henry D’Silva (left), Dominik Baumann (middle) and Christina Nielsen
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    #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3, SPS automotive performance
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    2nd place Am class: Miguel Ramos (left), Tim Müller (middle) and Valentin Pierburg
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    #6 Mercedes-AMG GT3, BLACK FALCON