'Huge disaster' if Vandoorne misses F1 seat
2 October 2015 – Runaway GP2 championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne missing out on a Formula 1 seat for the 2016 season would be a "huge disaster", according to ART Grand Prix team manager Sébastien Philippe.
Vandoorne, who can clinch the title at the next round in Russia, was in contention for a McLaren seat next year, before the team confirmed Jenson Button alongside the already contracted Fernando Alonso.
Philippe, in charge at ART throughout Vandoorne's GP2 career, reckons the Belgian is fully deserving of a Formula 1 graduation, and is still hopeful that he can find a way onto the grid.
"I'm not there to analyse what they [McLaren] have to do or not," Philippe told GPUpdate.net.
"The only thing I can say is that it would be a huge disaster if Stoffel was not going to be in Formula 1 next year, after doing such a great job in the categories under Formula 1.
"If he cannot go into Formula 1, there is something wrong. It would be a disaster and unfair.
"We know how hard it is, and all the doors are closing at the moment, so I'll be very disappointed if this is not going to happen. Until it is all over, we need to remain optimistic for him – I wish him all the best."
Vandoorne has finished at least third in all primary categories he has contested, including runner-up spots to Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer in his rookie Formula Renault 3.5 (2013) and GP2 (2014) seasons.
"If you look at his racing career, and what he has done since the beginning, I'm not sure there are a lot of drivers who have shown that much," Philippe went on to explain.
"He has been winning races in all categories he has been in, winning races on all tracks, and finished runner-up in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 in his first year, which I think is amazing.
"A long time ago when you had a driver like Lewis [Hamilton] winning in his first year in GP2, it was not the same, because now you have drivers with three-four years of experience.
"The tyres are also quite difficult to learn at the beginning now. Stoffel almost did it last year, and I think without some small mistakes from the team or him, we could have done it already last year.
"This year he has destroyed the championship. On his side, there is nothing he could have done better. It would not be acceptable for him not to be in the top category later."