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
Listen to this article

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
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022