Sources in Belgium seem to suggest that McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne may stay in Formula 1 after his impeding exit from McLaren at the end of the year.
Mclaren have a rich history of throwing their up and coming young drivers ‘under the bus’ so as to speak. Names such as Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen to name a couple in recent times. Kevin famously given his marching orders via a text message from Ron Dennis on his birthday!
Team mate Fernando Alonso has high praise for his Belgium McLaren compatriot, explaining that in his opinion Stoffel was actually very close to him but the car failings of 2017 and 2018 hurt the younger man more.
“If you see previous team-mates, they were a lot further [behind] than Stoffel,” Alonso said.
“In 2014 it was six or seven tenths to Kimi every race. It’s less than that now.
“He arrived [in F1] in a difficult car with some difficulties last year and this year as well.
“But he’s OK, and he will be very close in performance as soon as the car is delivering normal performance.
“[There’s] nothing really to say to him. And for his reputation, you just need to wait and see, or see the results before Silverstone, or last year, in terms of qualifying.”
Alas Vandoorne is set to continue his term at a failing Mclaren and then a very probable ‘no drive’ situation for next season.
— Pierre Gasly 🇫🇷 (@PierreGASLY) September 13, 2018
“It’s still possible, but the chances are very, very small,” he admitted in an interview with the French speaking Belgium TV channel RTBF.
“In the past few weeks, the situation in the driver market has changed a lot, even if nothing has yet been decided. In any case, we also look outside of Formula 1 and I hope that I have something in my pocket very soon.”
“There are other championships where the level is very high and where there are many people who still believe in my talent.
“I’m still the driver I used to be and able to win races and titles. I am convinced that I can do it again in a different environment.”
Vandoorne also stated that he would be content with a reserve role if necessary.
Daniil Kvyat is currently sitting on the reserve bench of Ferrari, and the Russian could return to the Toro Rosso team next year, with whom he started in his first GP career.
Rumour has it that his return to the Toro Rosso team based in Faenza will be confirmed next week as part of the Russia GP.
Further, the Belgian newspaper “La Dernière Heure” reports that Vandoorne is in pole position when it comes to succeeding the racing driver from the Russian at Ferrari.
Stoffel would therefore take over the role of development and simulator driver for the team from Maranello. Vandoorne himself has not commented publicly on these rumours however.