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Vandoorne hopes Peugeot WEC drive won’t compromise Aston Martin F1 reserve role

Stoffel Vandoorne is hoping to retain his Aston Martin Formula 1 reserve role in 2024 despite adding a Peugeot WEC programme to his already busy schedule.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Aston Martin F1 Team

Vandoorne has shared the Aston reserve job with Felipe Drugovich this year, essentially fitting in trips to grands prix around the Formula E calendar.

As well as driving the simulator he also had his first chance to sample the AMR23 on track in a Pirelli test at Spa.

However, next season he will run the full WEC schedule alongside his Formula E commitments, which will reduce his availability to be on duty for Aston on GP weekends.

The Belgian believes he can still make a useful contribution to the Silverstone team.

"Obviously, it gets quite busy, and there's only so many days in the year to get around," he told Motorsport.com.

"But I think it's still possible to be involved with Aston. It requires a bit of management with all the parties, and everyone needs to be very aware of what the priorities are, what my availabilities are.

"As long as everyone is on the same page with that, then that's possible. I think, above all, it's up to me as well to be very clear about that with all the parties, in terms of where to put my time, but also how to manage my whole travelling and my energy levels, because there's a lot of time being spent on airplanes.

"I'm making sure that that does not affect my racing."

In some cases Vandoorne’s travel schedule will work in his favour, for example when the Tokyo Formula E event is followed immediately by the Japanese GP weekend, which moves to a new date in April.

"There are races where it will fit in quite nicely if you're in the right region," he said. "And some [are] where it's completely another continent, which is not nice.

#94 PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES Peugeot 9X8 Hybrid Hypecar of Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoorne

#94 PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES Peugeot 9X8 Hybrid Hypecar of Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoorne

Photo by: JEP

"What I want to avoid is to go from one continent to another continent and spending a lot of energy on that for nothing."

Vandoorne acknowledged that with 24 F1 races on the calendar next year, teams will always need more than one reserve, and that staying race fit in another series is beneficial.

"With Aston Martin there's myself and Felipe," he said. "So we're two, and what you kind of need to do is to split that role. I wouldn't want to come to 24 races and not drive anything.

"How can you ever be ready, if you need to jump in? As a racing driver, you still need to race, and you still need to drive. And that's kind of the best preparation to be to be ready.

"So the good thing is Aston Martin understand that, and they know that you have to race in order to be fit and to be ready to jump in. I'd say from that point it's good."

Vandoorne, who raced for Peugeot in the recent Fuji event, is excited about his full-time WEC programme.

"I've always been a fan of WEC ever since I first tried it in 2019 with SMP, and I did a full season in LMP2 in 2021," he said.

"Then it was kind of always my desire to come back, but with a manufacturer in the in the top class. I'm just happy to now be with Peugeot, who have obviously got great history in sportscar racing.

"Especially in an era where sportscar racing is growing so much and has got such a big hype around it, it's cool to be part of that. Le Mans is one of the races most looking forward to, it's a special event. And I just hope one day to be in a position to fight for a victory at that race."

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