McLaren confirms Vandoorne will replace Button in 2017

2017 F1 drivers and teams

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Stoffel Vandoorne will drive for McLaren alongside Fernando Alonso next year, the team has confirmed.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s racing career so far
The reigning GP2 champion made his F1 debut as a substitute for Alonso in the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year.

“It’s an enormous honour to become a McLaren-Honda race driver, and I promise to work as hard as any Formula 1 driver ever has before,” said Vandoorne.

“I already know the team extremely well – they’re a fantastic group of extremely clever people – and I’ve already raced the car once and tested it often.”

“I have total confidence in the potential of the McLaren-Honda project, and I firmly believe that, racing alongside a brilliant and experienced driver, I’ll be able to make a strong contribution to the team’s future world championship successes.”

Executive chairman Ron Dennis called he line-up “a perfectly balanced mix of proven brilliance and immense potential”.

Vandoorne, who is racing in Japanese Super Formula this year, has “completed with distinction a meticulously designed apprenticeship”, said Dennis. “He’s consequently now ready to race in Formula 1, as his fine Grand Prix debut in Bahrain this year proved.”

See the updated list of 2017 F1 drivers and teams

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    70 comments on “McLaren confirms Vandoorne will replace Button in 2017”

    1. Two years overdue but we’re there! Another Belgian in F1. Couldn’t be more happy.

      1. Hear! hear!

      2. … Wait… Who’s the other one?

        1. Verstappen has a double nationality… Races under the Dutch flag, grew up in Belgium until 2008

          1. Ah, I see. Thanks!

          2. Verstappen is 100% dutch, he gave up his Belgium citizenship the moment he became 18 ;)

            1. Keep telling that to yourself. His mother is Belgian, that alone makes him 50% Belgian. He was born in Belgium, grew up in Belgium, went to school in Belgium, has always lived in Belgium, not just til 2008 (and as a consequence never in the Netherlands) and travels with his Belgian passport, not his Dutch. The resemblance with his Bekgian mother is also a lot greater than it is with his Dutch father, lol. Even his only branch to the Netherlands, namely the Limburg origin of his father, is considered by many, if not most, in even the Netherlands itself, to be far closer to typical Flemish culture than to typical Dutch culture. So all things considered, i would say yes, there’s more Belgian/Flemish in him than Dutch. The main reason why he chose to drive under the dutch flag is probably to get back to his fathers’ critics, who have ridiculed him and his career. Through good results from the son, the father can get back to his critics.
              But actually, i’m not even sure whether PorscheF1 is talking about MV. He said ‘another’; could be he was just referring to former Belgian F1 drivers.

            2. The Dutch would love to have their own driver but I think they’d rather have a dutch Belgian than an actual Dutchman in Giedo van der Garde.

      3. “another Belgian in F1” not really, but most probably just one British driver in F1 next year.

      4. People seem to mix up descendance and nationality. His nationality is dutch, because he chooses to be dutch. It’s simply a matter of which paper you use for official matters and has nothing to do with where you grow up. Also, i think it’s really weird that fans seem to “claim” him. He tells everybody who wants to hear it that he is dutch and drove with a big orange lion last week, has dutch sponsers, a dutch website ending and works with dutch television. It seems to me that he is the only one who can make a judgement on it and he has choosen to be dutch. A lot of sporters grew up in foreign countries, but are now citizens of belgium or the netherlands, just look at the belgium national football team. This is no different.

        Anyway, good to have a dutch guy and a belgium guy together in f1 after all this time. let’s hope mclaren will get to the top very soon, to see the young guys battle.

      5. Go Stoffel! I’m so delighted!

    2. Finally.

      Very excited to watch this man start his Formula 1 career for real next season.

      Really does feel like we’re witnessing a generational shift at the moment and it bodes very well for the future.

      1. @willwood true. Excited while feel so old now…

      2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        4th September 2016, 12:13

        @willwood I’ve spent years advocating young talent, only to have the F1 teams cling tighter to their driver experience crutches. Meanwhile an eighteen year old won the Spanish Grand Prix…

        …hopefully the other teams have now got the message and we now have Ocon, Wehrlein and Vandoorne, and we could yet welcome Gasly, Stroll and Leclerc too.

    3. Nice, now we can start speculating about their 2018 line-up.

      1. It might as well be Button/Vandoorne if Alonso decides to finally go for WEC or even back to what we have today if Vandoorne fails to deliver.

    4. I hope this guy is something special. I don’t think we realise how lucky we are having Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo all currently in F1 at the same time. Verstappen is the only promise of another mega talent we’ve had for a while, there need to be more prospects making it through to maintain the depth of the field.

      1. So what do you call Ricciado’s talent then? He beat Vettel convincingly, and is now proving faster than Verstappen.

        1. oops, completely missed ricciardo in your comment lol sorry mate.

    5. YAAAS!!! Finally! Will miss Jenson though.

    6. So ten years on from 2007 McLaren driver Fernando Alonso’s team mate will be a rookie driver who took a dominant GP2 title while driving for ART.

      Yeah, there’s no way this can end badly…

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        3rd September 2016, 16:21

        Stat of the day hahaha!!!

      2. I wonder if Alonso has been thinking about that very thing. Should be funny.

      3. No wonder they’ve left open the option for Jenson in 2018 haha

        1. That’s exactly what I thought.

      4. This time, McLaren came prepared for 2018.

      5. Is that really you Keith?! Haha…I never knew you could be so partial :)

        1. I’m joking of course :-)

      6. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        3rd September 2016, 17:16

        He he.

        I’m going out on a limb here and will say that Button & Vandoorne will be racing at McLaren in 2018.

      7. Honestly hope for the same fireworks as 2007, however that requires McLaren to have a front running car…

      8. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        3rd September 2016, 22:18

        Yup. Love JB but its the right decision. Jenson to Top Gear? WEC? Rallycross?

        Good call on the ART stat Keith lol

      9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        4th September 2016, 12:42

        @keithcollantine Was Hamilton dominant in GP2? 12 points down the road from Piquet, who was leading the championship after a perfect weekend in Hungary… #JustSayin

    7. spafrancorchamps
      3rd September 2016, 16:45

      Thank you, Jenson, for all the hard work you put in at McLaren during the years. You’re one of F1’s greatest, and will surely be missed! I wish you the best of luck and good fortune for the future!

    8. Give yourself comment of the day for that stat

    9. Nice! Wehrlein, Ocon, Verstappen, van Doorne.. Ricciardo, perhaps even Grosjean.. The future candidates

      1. Forgetting Sainz, sorry

      2. Gasley perhaps, if he does get the Toro Rosso seat next year.

      3. Gasley perhaps, if he does get the Toro Rosso seat next year, maybe even Charles Leclerc, Santino Ferrucci.

      4. Gasley perhaps, if he does get the Toro Rosso seat next year, maybe even Charles Leclerc, Santino Ferrucci and Alex Lynn.

    10. Glad to see Vandoorne getting his chance!

      Guess the next shoe to drop would be who is replacing Massa at Williams?

      1. a lot of people were so sure that the next shoe to drop to replace Massa was going to be Button.

    11. good news, but I would have loved for there to have been a televised driver shoot out for the seat between Vandoorne and Wehrlein. Would have made the off season tolerable.

    12. I guess Van Dorne is getting his ride with McLaren “on Jenson’s terms”.

      1. sunny stivala
        4th September 2016, 6:24

        Gary you sounds like he owned that McLaren seat. What he actually excepted from mclaren is nothing but a demotion.

        1. Well paid demotion then sunny stivala

    13. Very strong line-up. If McLaren don’t bring out these supposed multiple aero/chassis developments next year given this lineup (and the relative strength of the engine now) I’d be very surprised. Winter testing will be one to watch but if it goes well I’ll be putting a few bob on Vandoorne for certain.

    14. Good news. I hope he can fight for wins soon! Go McLaren!!

    15. Vandoorne might be a great talent behind the wheel, but what I’ve seen so far in interviews, he’s as boring and corporate as it gets personality wise (which is probably one reason Ron Dennis likes him).
      Of course I prefer someone like Vandoorne over a Haryanto or Ericsson, but it seems to me there’s also a big lack of character on the grid in recent years.

      1. The guy needs a drive first!

      2. @jon-thereyougo Who cares? He’s pretty much exciting to watch and that’s all that matter doesn’t it? Furthermore he has been commentator for two years on the Belgian TV and is a very intelligent and likable individual.

    16. When I began watching F1 as a 12-year old in 1993 and F1 racers were exotic demigods to me, I never could have imagened I would once cheer for a driver from my hometown :)

    17. Button and Massa. Never think you ll see the day but old guys leave but they eventually do and young guys fill their shoes. I’ll never forget the memories these two legends have given us. #GRATEFUL

    18. I’m very excited to see what Vandoorne can do in F1.

      With this crop of fresh drivers, it looks like the talent pool is assured for a few years.

      1. The crowd at Spa next year is going to be insane!

      2. Shame they’re push button pilots who don’t actually drives the cars unlike the old guys Massa, Button and Alonso who at least did drive cars without all the electronic aids that are on the cars now. No wonder they’re not enjoying the racing.

    19. I’m die hard Alonso , through and through . I want nothing more for him have a car that’s only 0.500 seconds off the pace , as his talent/skill will allow him to compete for wins .

      However, the 2015 GP2 championship was the best season since 2006 (LH champion ) and runner up to 2010/2012 F1 seasons.

      Stoffel is better , more talented , and groomed than Lewis ever was.
      I’ve watched 5 years of GP2 (when F1 becomes a snooze fest ) .

      I’ve never seen or heard of driver in GP2 winning by margin of over 8 seconds a lap ! 2014 gp2 season he was lacking in the first half and then runner up by end after being 9th in the standings . Palmer was in gp2 for 5 years prior to his championship ;2015 stoffel won by almost double points over Rossi.

      All cars are same chassis , engines , and only differ on setup .

      Stoffel by 2018 will be better than anyone in F1 . He will challenge Alonso for position by China in 2017. The racing lines stoffel can maintain thripugh chicanes , medium and fast corners is unprecedented . He scored points his first race in F1 , in car that shouldn’t have placed higher than 14th.

      As is I think he’s on the same level as Rosberg, Kimi , vettel , Verstappan. Only Lewis and Fernado presently have more skill than stoffel . I can’t wait for 2017 with the scrapping of token system, which will allow for McLaren /Mercedes full on battle as they spend money on engine development like its gojng out of style .

      I expect red bull to be semi close in beginning of 2017 due to aero development , but drop off as big manufactures advance engine development .

      1. More talented than lewis? Lay off the drugs

        1. No-one denies that Lewis has immense talent. In the last 10 seasons he has proven himself again and again in cars that no-one else but his team-mates have been able to drive to victories. Superlative stuff.

          1. Yep…..that about sums it up….lol.

          2. As funny as it is, it can be said for a lot of world champions.

      2. Is Stoffel the messiah?

        1. …no he’s just a very naughty boy :)

        2. Of course not: it’s Verstappen. The man who saved F1, nothing less… x)

      3. Hard to say Vandoorne is more talented than any proven driver. Even if we are talking about potential, he’ll make his first full season at 25, rather ‘old’ for the current standards, which means no other team thought he was worth a bet earlier, because no matter how tight McLaren had him, there would always be a contractual way to solve this.

        That said, I think he’ll perform decently, but I’m not expecting wonders…

        1. Yeah, no, the thing is that other top teams either had a talented driver lineup and/or their own young driver programme. And to drive for non-top teams cash is needed, and Vandoorne simply didn’t have that. Vandoornes CV speaks for itself.

          That he was 19 by the time he ended up in single seaters, or 22 by the time he was in an actual top-level feeder series is more an indication of a lack of funding that he had early on in his career, rather than the lack of results or not being “good enough” for a seat.

    20. And Button will replace Alonso. Fernando must have already told Jenson (and the team) that he quits after 2016. Why else would Jenson ‘sit on the bench’ while he can drive at a competitive team?

      1. Because after 15 straight years he probably does want a breather.

    21. Button is waiting for Alonso to make that decision as the rivalry Between Alonso/vandorn boils over . Sadly button won’t win again vandorn , as he’s in league of his own .

    22. I was starting to think this wasn’t meant to be. I think when someone scores the teams first points (first points that stood for a while) on his debut he ought to get hired. I think it’s interesting that McLaren seem to be so strong on fast tracks?! I guess either the Honda is an okay engine or the McLaren is ridiculously good on traction.

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