Stevens hints future lays in WEC, not F1

Will Stevens has suggested he is unlikely to make a Formula 1 return for Manor this season, and that his focus for the latter half of the year will be returning to the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Stevens hints future lays in WEC, not F1
#44 Manor Oreca 05 - Nissan: Tor Graves, Will Stevens, James Jakes
#1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS: Will Stevens
Will Stevens, Manor Marussia F1 Team
1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS: Will Stevens, Dries Vanthoor, Frédéric Vervisch
#44 Manor Oreca 05 - Nissan: Tor Graves, Will Stevens, James Jakes
Will Stevens, Manor F1 Team
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan: Roman Rusinov, Will Stevens, René Rast
LMP2 podium: second place #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan: Roman Rusinov, Will Stevens, René Rast
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan: Roman Rusinov, Will Stevens, René Rast
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan: Will Stevens
#44 Manor Oreca 05 - Nissan: Tor Graves, Will Stevens, James Jakes
#28 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS: Antonio Garcia, Nico Müller, Will Stevens
Will Stevens, Manor
#44 Manor Oreca 05 - Nissan: Tor Graves, Will Stevens, James Jakes

With Rio Haryanto’s sponsorship budget having run out after the first half of the F1 season, rumours about the second Manor seat are in full swing.

Along with Alexander Rossi, Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon, the name of Will Stevens has been mentioned as a possible replacement for the Indonesian driver for the remainder of the season.

Stevens, who contested last season with the Banbury outfit, is now trying his hand at sportscar racing in the Blancpain GT Series and WEC.

Speaking to Motorsport.com at the Spa 24 Hours, where Stevens shared a WRT Audi R8 with Belgians Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch, the 25-year-old Briton remains coy about his future.

"I don’t know, honestly,” said Stevens, "F1 is obviously what every driver dreams of doing. I’ve done it, obviously I loved it and I would love to do it in a competitive car. Would I go back? I don’t know.

"Everyone’s talking about Manor and I don’t know what the situation there is. If there is an opportunity, for sure I’d have to think about it.

"At the moment I have a contract to finish [Blancpain] and with WEC it’s unknown. We’ll wait and see."

Long-term choice

Having spent all of last year at the back of the F1 grid, Stevens realises there might be better opportunities out there if he is to establish a long-term career in motor racing.

"I need to make the right decision for the future. What’s good for a few months may not be good for the future,” Stevens admitted.

"Whatever gives me the most stability and the best longevity in my career is what I’m trying to achieve. I’d never turn my back on F1 but on the same token in WEC and GTs, career-wise, it’s a good thing to be doing.

I want to earn a career in motorsport. F1 is always hard and very political. Here it’s less so. If you do a good job, you can get recognised and do a good, stable job with a manufacturer and that’s what I want to achieve."

Stevens has taken well to sports car racing, dovetailing his Blancpain campaign with LMP2 stints for Manor and G-Drive in the World Endurance Championship.

"Coming out of last year the main thing I wanted to do this year was a lot of racing,” Stevens continued. "These guys [WRT] have done a good job for me.

"I’m starting to build some good relationships here. I feel good in the team and in the car, so I’m happy. I hope that I’m starting to prove that I can do a good job in this discipline."

After appearing with Manor in the first two WEC rounds of the season at Silverstone and Spa, Stevens turned up at G-Drive for the Le Mans 24 Hours but didn’t contest the following round at the Nurburgring last month.

Explaining the move, Stevens added: "I got an offer from G-Drive to go do Le Mans with them. As a team, with the line-up they had with Rene [Rast] and [Roman] Rusinov, I couldn’t have had a better package for my first Le Mans.

"I took it because I needed to do what was best for me, and that was it. We didn’t win the race but we got two penalties and a puncture which cost us a lot of time.

"Pace-wise, considering it was my first time, we were pretty happy with it. It wasn’t a critical thing for me to be at the Nurburgring. In the circumstances, I wasn’t massively pressurised to do it."

Manor WEC return possible

Stevens now heads off for the summer break while his team is working on his future, both for the rest of this season and 2017.

"I've got plenty of people working on my behalf,” Stevens said. "We’re always looking for an opportunity to see what I can do for my future.

"We’re halfway through the season, I’m not suddenly going to change what I’m doing. I’m committed to [Blancpain] for the rest of the year for sure. I’m happy with this. This is giving me the best opportunity of proving myself against good people.

"With WEC I don’t know how it’s going to pan out. We’ll see in the next few weeks what’s going on. Everyone’s got two or three weeks off now so I’m sure a few things are going to happen over there.

"Everything now happens for next year. I’d love to know what I’m doing next year within the next few months. In February this year I still didn’t know what I was doing and it was a nightmare. Luckily I ended up with a really good opportunity this year.

"We want to figure it out for the rest of this year and next year as soon as possible. We’re still talking to [WEC team] Manor so we'll see for the rest of the year."

shares
comments
Rebellion down to single car for rest of 2016

Previous article

Rebellion down to single car for rest of 2016

Next article

Di Grassi: Mexico City altitude to make WEC “even more interesting”

Di Grassi: Mexico City altitude to make WEC “even more interesting”
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021