Vandoorne feels ready for triple F1 reserve role

Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne feels “ready to do a good job” if any team needs him to step in, despite not having driven a Formula 1 car since 2018.

Vandoorne feels ready for triple F1 reserve role

Vandoorne moved to Mercedes at the end of a two-year F1 race stint with McLaren to head up the German manufacturer's new Formula E outfit. 

The Belgian took his maiden pole and win in last week's Berlin season finale and secured second place in the championship, and will now switch focus to his role as Mercedes’ F1 simulator and reserve driver.

As it stands, Vandoorne will be on standby for Mercedes, Racing Point and his former team McLaren and will travel to all the remaining races.

The 28-year-old knows the current Mercedes W11 well from an operational point of view through his work in the team’s Brackley simulator, but hasn’t sampled any F1 machinery since his McLaren exit at the end of 2018.

Nevertheless Vandoorne feels ready to jump in if needed and says he’s "sure I can do a good job".

“With McLaren I kind of know the people there, because I've been there for a few years driving in F1 with them, so I think it wouldn't be a problem to jump in,” Vandoorne told Motorsport.com.

"I haven't driven a Formula 1 car in a long time. It would be strange in the beginning, but I’m still quite active with all the work I'm doing at Mercedes in the simulator and travelling to the races as well. So I'm pretty confident that I would at least know what to expect, let’s say."

"I'm ready, I'm on standby and I'm sure I can do a good job."

Read Also:

Vandoorne’s F1 debut at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix came after a last-minute call-up by McLaren to replace the injured Fernando Alonso. 

The Belgian had to learn the car’s procedures on his flight from a Super Formula test in Japan to Bahrain and went on to finish 10th, all with minimum preparation.

"Pretty much,” he nodded. "I've managed to do it back then, not having much preparation. So I think I would be much better prepared right now to jump in.”

Vandoorne missed out on a chance to return to F1 when Racing Point’s Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19. 

With the Belgian on site in Berlin to prepare the last leg of the Formula E season, Nico Hulkenberg was called up by Racing Point to replace Perez for both Silverstone races.

Vandoorne isn’t getting his hopes up of getting called up "because it means that probably someone is ill or something happened to someone.”

“I don't wish on anyone to get ill, so it's never really the desire to jump in. 

“It's a strange position to be in. You never really know when you're going to have to step in, but I'm ready if something happens.”

shares
comments

Related video

2021 F1 downforce cut not a matter of safety, says Pirelli
Previous article

2021 F1 downforce cut not a matter of safety, says Pirelli

Next article

Return to Indy would be “very good for Formula 1”, says Todt

Return to Indy would be “very good for Formula 1”, says Todt
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021