Magnussen, Vandoorne backed for F1
19 September 2013 – McLaren Managing Director Jonathan Neale has backed both Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne to graduate to Formula 1 in the near future, the young pair having impressed during their time onboard the Working-based outfit's junior programme.
With two rounds (four races) remaining, Magnussen holds a 36-point advantage over Vandoorne at the head of the Formula Renault 3.5 standings, while Red Bull's António Félix da Costa, who is tipped to join the junior Toro Rosso squad in 2014, sits third.
Expressing his views during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Neale said: "I'm not in a position to be specific about what's happening, but I can say that both Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne are really exciting prospects for the future.
"I think it behoves us as a sport to make sure that these fantastic individuals find their way into Formula 1. Certainly on current performance you'd expect them to get there."
Neale admitted, however, that it will be extremely important for McLaren to handle any potential promotions in a careful manner, given the challenges of racing in Formula 1.
"The step between the junior series and coming into Formula 1 is pretty challenging; we're still trying to figure out the best way for them to do that," he explained. "I can't be specific, but we'd expect to see them in Formula 1 in the not too distant future."