Vandoorne: Toro Rosso contacted me
18 October 2013 – McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne has revealed that Toro Rosso contacted him over the possibility of becoming Daniel Ricciardo's replacement for the 2014 campaign.
The 21-year-old Belgian, who sits second in the Formula Renault 3.5 standings ahead of the final round in Barcelona, said he discussed the proposal with his management team, but ultimately opted to remain a member of McLaren's talent pool.
"In September, the team actually contacted me," Vandoorne explained to Belgian newspaper Le Soir. "With Daniel Ricciardo replacing Mark Webber at Red Bull, they are looking for a new driver at Toro Rosso.
"I consulted with my management team, which advised me to remain with McLaren. Also, Red Bull's proposal would only have been for one season, and we're looking at the long-term. I'm convinced that McLaren remains the best choice for Formula 1."
Vandoorne, who needs 43 points to overhaul fellow McLaren star Kevin Magnussen for the Formula Renault 3.5 title, says remaining in the category for a second season is his most likely option, although he is hopeful of securing a greater Formula 1 role.
"After Barcelona we will look at everything," said Vandoorne. "I can stay for another year with the title as the sole aim; that is the most likely option. I could move to GP2, but it is not very different to 3.5, and McLaren is not fussed about this category.
"I can already make the step to Formula 1 as a reserve driver. But we will have to see."
Red Bull junior António Félix da Costa is expected to be given the Toro Rosso drive.