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Vandoorne to leave McLaren after 2018 season

  • Published on 03 Sep 2018 12:08
  • comments 14
  • By: Fergal Walsh

McLaren has confirmed that Stoffel Vandoorne will be leaving the team following the 2018 season. The Belgian has been a full-time driver with the Woking squad since 2017, racing alongside double-world champion Fernando Alonso.

Vandoorne made his debut for McLaren at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix. He stepped in for Alonso, who was advised to sit out the race following a major crash in Australia two weeks before.

The 26-year-old has struggled to compete against Alonso, having out-qualified him just three times in their 34 races together so far. Including his first race in 2016, Vandoorne has scored seven top-ten finishes, accumulating 22 career points.

“I’m very grateful to McLaren for investing their faith in me over the past five years," Vandoorne said. "I joined McLaren as a young driver and have since seen my career progress within the team from test and development driver to reserve driver and then to full-time race driver.

“While we haven’t achieved the success we’d all hoped for, I’ve really enjoyed the past two seasons racing for McLaren and I have a great relationship with everyone in the team.

“My time at McLaren has been a great chapter in my career and I’m thankful for the opportunity the team, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh have given me to gain valuable Formula 1 experience and develop as a driver. I intend to give it my all for the remaining seven races of this season, and will announce my plans for next season in due course.”

Vandoorne's departure means that McLaren will field a brand new line-up for next season. Carlos Sainz has already been confirmed as Fernando Alonso's replacement, with the Spaniard announcing last month that he would be walking away from the sport in 2019.

Vandoorne has been linked to a seat at Sauber and Toro Rosso for next year. McLaren's CEO Zak Brown has thanked Vandoorne for his efforts and has wished the Belgian all the best for his future endeavours.

“We’re immensely thankful for Stoffel’s dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren. He’s a talented racing driver with an incredible list of accolades in his junior career. We’re proud to have played a part in his break into Formula 1, from his role as test driver to his fantastic points-scoring debut in Bahrain in 2016.

“It’s clear we haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, but throughout our relationship he’s proved to be a fantastic team player. His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we’ve really enjoyed working with him.

“We wish Stoffel all the best in whatever direction he chooses to take next in his career, and we’ll be supporting him all the way. We will announce our full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course.”

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (14)

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  • Jutlandia

    Posts: 191

    I'm sad to read this, but it was expected i must say.
    But then again McLada has been able to almost destroy their young drivers.
    Think of Perez, Magnussen and now Vandoorne.
    I really hope he will finda seat in a better team.

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2018 - 13:06
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,168

    This might be a blessing in disguise. If he signs for Toro rosso I won't be surprised. The 2019 TR could be an good car to be in.

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2018 - 13:23
    • They'd be mad if they didnt pounce on this.

      • + 0
      • Sep 3 2018 - 19:14
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      I'm thinking Kvyat and Vandoorne in STR next season

      • + 0
      • Sep 3 2018 - 20:00
  • Sad, but Stoffel had ample opportunity to show some potential. I still think if he manages to get a seat he will shine at some point. But it's probably a good thing for him to try something new. Unlike Magnussen and Pérez, it seems like McLaren did. O put unduly pressure and expectations on Stoffel.

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2018 - 16:47
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      I think that we haven't seen the best of him yet, I would love for Redbull to give him an change.

      • + 0
      • Sep 3 2018 - 17:21
  • Well colour me purple and call me Bertil, this kinda caught me off-guard. But IMO its yet another futile and very McLiaren move. Just like them to toss their rookies aside as soon as something more interesting comes around, despite saying again and again that they still have faith in him (also proving that McLiaren's words still mean nothing). Sure, he hasnt impressed, but looked at those sorry spermatozoa he's been forced to drive and Im not sure any other rookie would have done better. It wont surprise me if Stoff become a less aggressive KMag 2.0, ripe for another team to harvest.

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2018 - 19:13
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      I think two main things handicapped Vandoorne. 1) an absolute dog of a car. 2) a dog of a car designed to suit Alonso. Likely Vandoorne's style differs quite a bit from Alonso's. Also, Alonso has proven himself to be the best at getting the most out of a crappy car, just look what he did in the 2014 Ferrari compared to Räikkönen. All this put's Vandoorne at more of a disadvantage compared to any other driver on the grid. What he did in GP2.... I mean he can't have just lost his ability. I'd like to see STR give him a chance, perhaps they can give him a car that suits him. I would have liked to see Vasseur take him on and nurse him back to his former self, but that is apparently off the table.

      • + 0
      • Sep 3 2018 - 20:07
    • Yeah, probably. I too hope STR pick him up. I mean he is basically a driver McLiaren has paid to train, and now he is in F1 and has F1 experience. I wonder which is worse to be a rookie driver for, McLaren or Red Bull...

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2018 - 07:33
    • Kean

      Posts: 692

      It used to be Toro Rosso, just look at Buemi, Vergne, Kvyat.... But now, I don't know, seems like McLaren is worse. I worry for Norris. Anyway, I'd be very surprised if STR doesn't take this oppertunity to sign Vandoorne, he also has Honda experience. Next year when there will be a closer collaboration between STR and RBR it may not be such a bad thing to be in the STR compared to McLaren

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2018 - 09:28
  • Bhurt

    Posts: 320

    They're right to fire him. If he can't be competitive in an noncompetitive car, what good is he? ^^

    The only one at McLaren who is performing to potential is Zak Brown, and thankfully he's still there leading the McLaren charge down the standings.

    • + 0
    • Sep 3 2018 - 19:56
    • I mean last year's McLaren was a racewinning car, and neither Alonso or Vandoorne could even scratch a podium. I know because I won every race during my F1 campaign in a video game. ;)

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2018 - 07:34
  • Typocal Mclaren. How about, working hard on a better car? Hiring better people?

    • + 0
    • Sep 4 2018 - 00:43
    • Nah, surely they cant do that. Gotta switch drivers faster than the average Joe changes undies!

      • + 0
      • Sep 4 2018 - 07:35

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