Brown encouraged by Vandoorne development
21 December 2017 – McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown says he has been impressed by the manner in which Stoffel Vandoorne progressed through the course of his first full season in Formula 1.
Vandoorne struggled during the early events, suffering seven Q1 eliminations from the opening eight Grands Prix, but made gains as McLaren-Honda moved back towards the midfield.
Vandoorne picked up a point in Hungary and claimed successive seventh-placed finishes in Singapore and Malaysia, leaving Brown encouraged by the manner in which the Belgian bounced back.
"It was a very difficult start for him with our reliability issues," Brown said when asked about Vandoorne's season by GPUpdate.net.
"He's a rookie, he was going to a lot of tracks for the first time.
"Fernando [Alonso] has the benefit of 15 or 16 years [of being in Formula 1], so if he had an issue and it was kind of 'you've got five laps to do it', he could draw on 15 years' experience.
"Stoffel would miss some sessions, having never been to the track before, and he's got five laps to do it, oh and by the way your team-mate is one of the best drivers in the world.
"If you look at the pressure and circumstances, his attitude was great, his speed is getting better and better, he's very close to Fernando now."
Brown also believes that McLaren's tendency to supply Alonso's car with updates, when only one part/package was available, occasionally accentuated the pace difference between the pair.
"They've not always had the same equipment," Brown outlined.
"We run both cars identically but there have been times that you have only one development piece so nine out of 10 times you give that to the more experienced driver.
"There were some races where the gap may have looked larger than they were but that was a car gap more than a driver gap, so I'm very happy with him."