Tuesday, 26 August 2014

McLaren considering Vandoorne for F1 role

(McLaren Mercedes)

McLaren Mercedes who are yet to confirm their driver line up for next season have confirmed that they are considering the possibility of promoting Stoffel Vandoorne from their young driver programme to a role within the McLaren F1 Team. Speaking following Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix Racing Director Eric Boullier stated:

'It is a little too early to take a decision, he (Vandoorne) is doing a good job for the first year. You can see really clear progress over the last few races. He is very dedicated and I am happy to see he's getting there, but it is too early to have plans so everything is open'.

Boullier has also stated that although it may be too early for Vandoorne to race for McLaren they may place him in the team as a test driver or indeed try and find a race seat for him with a team lower down the grid so that he could gain experience in Formula One before making the move up to a race seat with the Woking based outfit. 

Jenson Button who is out of contract at the end of the season finished Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix in 6th place just behind reigning world Sebastian Vettel. The 2009 champion has expressed his desire to remain in Formula One next season with McLaren but the team have struggled so far this season and are currently in 5th place in the Constructors championship on 105 points two ahead of the Sahara Force India Formula One Team.

Speaking following Sunday's race Button commented:

'We played the long game today – most people were making their pit-stops early – and I felt I kept the tyres in good condition.

“I also had a lot of fun out there, especially racing Kevin [Magnussen], Sebastian [Vettel] and Fernando [Alonso] at the end.

“In the final laps Kevin and I didn’t touch, although I had to back off a bit at Turn Eight, when Fernando ran off as he and Kevin were dicing. I lost a place to Fernando there, which was a bit of a shame, and in turn a place to Sebastian after that, but as I say I really enjoyed it out there.

“It’s such a fantastic circuit; driving here always feels so good.'

It is also unclear what McLaren will decide to do in relation to Kevin Magnussen who was promoted to the race seat alongside Button for this season after Sergio Perez across to the Sahara Force India F1 Team. The Dane was classified as finishing the race in the 7th place but was a handed a post race 20 second penalty for forcing Ferrari's Fernando Alonso off the track. He was therefore classified as finishing the race in 12th place. Speaking following the race the Dane said:

'Despite being penalised after the race, I have to say I enjoyed the weekend. I had great fun out there this afternoon – I was involved in exciting racing on an awesome circuit.

“It was a tough challenge, because everyone around me had slightly fresher tyres than I did, and they’re all great drivers: they’re not the easiest guys to keep behind. So I just tried my best to defend my position as well as I could.

“Changing the subject, I want to say how brilliant it was to see so many Danish fans in the crowd. The support I’ve had this weekend has been incredible – I’ve never experienced anything like it, to be honest.

“Last but not least, it was good that Jenson got past Fernando at the end, to score some useful points for the team.'

In the last three season's McLaren have had three drivers alongside Jenson Button with Lewis Hamilton. He was replaced last season by Sergio Perez after the 2008 world champion moved to Mercedes where he is currently in second place in the championship. While Magnussen joined the outfit this season.

It would make sense for McLaren to retain both drivers next season as it will be a year of transition for the outfit as they switch from Mercedes to Honda power units the team will have enough going on next season as they are also expected to announce a new title sponsor too which would mean another new partnership so they will have enough going on next season without bringing in one or two new drivers next season who would have to get use to the McLaren set up.

Eric Boullier has also stated that McLaren have a third option in mind for Vandoorne and that is that he could remain in the GP2 Series next season where he won the Hungarian round this season and finished the last GP2 feature race at the Spa Francorchamps circuit where he finished the race in 2nd place.

Speaking following the race Boullier stated:

'Before I say anything else, I want to pay public tribute to Formula 1, which delivered a magnificent afternoon’s entertainment here in Belgium today.

“On the most daunting racetrack on the Formula 1 calendar, there was cut and thrust all through the field, and the resulting spectacle must have made for fantastic television.

“Throughout, Jenson and Kevin were in the thick of it, and it was great to see them racing the Red Bulls and the Ferraris fast and hard. They both drove extremely well, exhibiting redoubtable derring-do, and, although they raced wheel to wheel with each other, they never touched.

“From here we go to Monza, another classic low-downforce circuit, where we’ll be hoping to capitalise on our steady ongoing performance development and score a useful number of World Championship points.'

© Ben Johnston 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment