McLaren chiefs reiterate belief in Vandoorne
23 August 2017 – McLaren chiefs Eric Boullier and Zak Brown have reiterated their belief in Stoffel Vandoorne, following confirmation that he will continue with the team in 2018.
Vandoorne stepped up to a full-time race seat for the 2017 season, after success in feeder classes, replacing Jenson Button as Fernando Alonso's team-mate.
Results were initially hard to come by, amid Honda's power unit struggles, but he pushed on behind-the-scenes and recorded his first points finish of the campaign in Hungary.
Boullier, McLaren's Race Director, and Brown, McLaren's Executive Director, stressed that, despite an early wobble, the plan remains to field Vandoorne for "a significant number of years".
"When we announced at the end of 2016 that Stoffel would be a McLaren Honda race driver for 2017, we indicated that our plan was that he'd race for us for a number of years," said Boullier.
"That plan hasn't changed, and I'm very happy therefore to be able to confirm that he'll continue to race for us next season.
"Like all rookies, he's had to learn a lot in the first half of his first Formula 1 season, but we have great confidence in him, and he's getting better and better all the time.
"His team-mate is a tough opponent – that's an understatement in fact, because he's arguably the best driver in the sport today – but Stoffel's robust talent and fierce ambition make us sure that he'll achieve great successes with us in the future."
Brown commented: "Echoing Eric's words, I'd like to add only that I regard Stoffel as a super talent – a future Formula 1 world champion in fact – and that's why I've always been adamant that he should race for us on a multi-year basis.
"Before anyone asks me any questions about duration, we don't want to go into that kind of confidential contractual detail, but let me put it this way: when we signed Stoffel, we intended that he would race for us for a significant number of years, and that remains our firm intention.
"We all know Stoffel's potential, and when we have a package fast enough to win Grands Prix again – and we will – Stoffel will be in the right place to score his first Formula 1 victory."
Vandoorne's official confirmation comes just before his home race in Belgium.