Vandoorne: No guarantees of McLaren F1 seat in 2017

GP2 series champion Stoffel Vandoorne says he has been given no guarantees that he will have a race seat at the McLaren Formula 1 team in 2017.

The Belgian dominated GP2 during the 2015 season, taking seven wins and 16 podiums on his way to the title.

But despite his commanding year, Vandoorne has found himself without a seat in F1 and is set to compete in the Japan-based Super Formula series during 2016.

Although Vandoorne is still part of the McLaren team as a reserve driver, he admits he has not been promised a racing drive for 2017.

"Nothing has been promised, but I'm working my way towards F1, that's definitely where I want to be," Vandoorne told reporters during a phone-in on Friday.

"I already wanted to be there this year, and I feel 100 percent ready to be there. Unfortunately there were no places available this season, so I have to works towards 2017.

"I feel I'm in the right place [at McLaren], they trust in my abilities. There are no guarantees but it would be a good place for me to race, I've been with the team for a couple of years and we've had a lot of success together.

"Hopefully we can build on that success in the future and hopefully I can get a race drive here."

Super Formula deal not yet done

Vandoorne said his deal to compete in Super Formula has not yet been finalised, but he is optimistic it is just a matter of time.

"We're still working on [a Super Formula deal], but it's definitely going in that direction," he added. "Talks are ongoing between McLaren and Honda but I'm confident the deal will happen soon.

"With that and my McLaren reserve role, it will be a busy year for me going to all the Grands Prix, spending a lot of time in the simulator and at the factory with the engineers. It will be good preparation for 2017.

"It is important to race something at least, to keep race fit. It's still gives you something to work for during the year, it's better than doing nothing. The cars are quick, I tested one in November at Suzuka and they have great cornering speeds.

"I've showed I'm capable of winning championships, so I feel McLaren really believes in me and this season will give me the best preparation possible for 2017."

No Magnussen repeat

The Belgian driver is also confident he will not end up in a similar situation as former McLaren reserve Kevin Magnussen, who lost his drive at McLaren after 2014 and ended up leaving the team last year.

"Kevin is a great driver; he definitely deserves to be in F1, and he might still end up in F1," Vandoorne added. "But we're at different points in our careers.

"I haven't been in F1 yet, I'm still working my way up there, and hopefully I will get there soon. This year I will be the reserve driver at McLaren and hopefully combining that with a season in Super Formula, and I'm working hard with this team to get a drive one day."

Interview by Jamie Klein

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Stoffel Vandoorne
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news