Gary Paffett is one of five rookies currently signed up to compete in season five of the ABB Formula E Championship, but already feels at home due to his continuing relationship with HWA.
The Brit won the 2018 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters with HWA, associated with Mercedes, and will continue to work with a number of his colleagues after making the switch to Formula E.
Despite taking his second DTM title in 15 seasons, Paffett feels as though he can’t make any direct collerations between it and Formula E but the transition has been made easier by his previous relationship with the HWA mechanics.
“Nothing directly, it’s such a different formula I think success in DTM doesn’t mean much for success in Formula E,” said the 37-year-old. “My experience from the 15 years I’ve done in DTM will give me a good baseline for being able to develop, change what I do and developing my driving going forwards, but actually there very little relation between what I do in DTM and what I do here.
“Pretty much all the guys here I’ve worked with in DTM at one point or another, so it’s great for us all to come in and do it together. We’re all on a bit of a new adventure, but it’s definitely more comfortable for me to come in and do it with the guys I know and it’s definitely made the transition to a new formula a lot easier.”
Despite serving as a long-time test driver for the McLaren Formula 1 team, his move to Formula E marks the first time that Paffett will race in single seaters since winning the German F3 Championship in 2002 and competing in a single race in International Formula 3000 in 2003.
Drawing any comparisons between Formula E and his 15-year home of DTM proved to be difficult for the HWA driver, who stated that it’s a unique challenge for him and that he will be looking to learn the fine details of the series.
“It’s really impossible [to compare], it’s so different. The way the car brakes with the system is so different to anything else I’m used to, and there’s a lot to get used to.
“It’s very hard to have a direct comparison to anything else I’ve driven, you have to take it on its own and start to relearn a lot of what you’ve learnt over the years. Obviously your talent and ability are still there and still valid, but there’s small details and intricate stuff about how to maximise the performance of the car and get the most out of it.”
Paffett’s will line up alongside current McLaren Formula 1 racer Stoffel Vandoorne at HWA, who he believes will prove to be a good team-mate given his attitude and willingness to push the team to perform at its best.
“We’ve only spent a couple of days together here at the test, so we haven’t gotten to know each other too much yet, but he’s got a great attitude and he’s obviously a very talented driver. He’s really hard working and keen to know as much as he can about the series, and we’re both in the same boat.
“We both need to know everything, not just about the car but about the formula, the format of the races and the regulations. We’ve both got a lot to learn and we’re pushing the team hard to try and give us as much information as they can and it’s working well at the moment.”