McLaren confirm Vandoorne will stay with them in 2018

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Stoffel Vandoorne will remain at McLaren in 2018, the team has confirmed ahead of his home race this weekend.

“When we announced at the end of 2016 that Stoffel would be a McLaren Honda race driver for 2017, we indicated that our plan was that he’d race for us for a number of years,” said racing director Eric Boullier.

“That plan hasn’t changed, and I’m very happy therefore to be able to confirm that he’ll continue to race for us next season.”

Vandoorne, who made a one-off start during last year’s championship, has endured a difficult first full season so far. McLaren’s Honda power unit has been unreliable and slow.

However scored took a breakthough points finish with tenth place in the most recent race at the Hungaroring.

“Like all rookies, he’s had to learn a lot in the first half of his first Formula One season, but we have great confidence in him, and he’s getting better and better all the time,” Boullier added.

“His team mate (Fernando Alonso) is a tough opponent – that’s an understatement in fact, because he’s arguably the best driver in the sport today – but Stoffel’s robust talent and fierce ambition make us sure that he’ll achieve great successes with us in the future.”

A question mark remains over the identity of Vandoorne’s tell mate for next season as Alonso’s contract with the team expires at the ends of this year.

View the updated list of 2018 F1 drivers and teams

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

30 comments on “McLaren confirm Vandoorne will stay with them in 2018”

  1. I don’t think anyone was in real doubt this would happen.

  2. Surprising that this comes right after Kimi is signed. Were Ferrari thinking of Stoffel as a replacement?

    1. No. Just no.

    2. No… McLaeren wanted Kimi, but he signed for Ferrari (pure speculations)

  3. Er, one word? No.

  4. Εxpected & a good move.Stoffel struggled at the start with McLaten issues,but since the car has been better & more reliable,he has been much much closer to Alonso.

  5. Was this surprising to anyone? He’s done better in recent races too, especially in qualifying

  6. Letting go of Vandoorne just after one season will be plain idiotic. For what it’s worth, his previous accomplishments are better than of Magnussen’s. And McLaren have properly messed up their younger signings in recent years.

  7. Double standards as usual in F1, Vandoorne gets trashed by Alonso and gets the 2018 drive, Perez in a bad season is close to Button and even beat him in Qualifying trim and gets the boot, Eurocentric F1 is too Eurocentric, there are only 4 non european drivers on the grid, an australian man (being australia a former UK colony), a Mexican Man with a lot talent but that has to bring sponsors to stay in the series, a brazilian man and a Canadian with a Rich dad, a more accurate name for the championship would be Europe Drivers Championship instead fo “World” Drivers Championship since we are seeing who is the best of the 16+1 european drivers.

    1. Vandoorne, a rookie, is up against Alonso. Perez, in his third season, was up against Button. Hardly reasonable to say the two have similar challenges.

      But I do agree that F1 is quite Eurocentric. Mostly down to numbers, though… it’s not like there’s a huge glut of non-European talent waiting to step up, but not being given the chance. Felipe Nasr probably deserved another shot, and Alexander Rossi, but beyond those two (and a few Indycar drivers) I can’t think of anyone else.

      1. You can say that the challenge was not similar or any other reason, the fact is that the mexican was not even close to being trashed, and he beated the brit in qualifying in an adverse atmosphere, im certain that if Sergio Perez name was Nigel Watson or something like that he would still be at McLaren, there is a lot of non-euro talent, but the erupean teams in f1 tend to ignore it, don’t know if for commercial reasons or nationalistic reasons.

        1. ‘Nigel Watson’ << Love it! F1 is very Eurocentric, if there was a 26 car grid like there used to be however….

        2. If Sergio Perez was indeed Nigel Watson, it’s unlikely he’d have ever received the kind of sponsorship backing that enabled him to get into F1 in the first place…

          I do agree with you on one thing – I don’t think McLaren should have dropped Perez either. I thought he deserved another season. But there’s no reason at all to think McLaren made their decision because he wasn’t European…

        3. You can’t seriously think that a driver from a small country without big multinational companies, like Vandoorne, is advantaged compared to South American drivers with corporate backing. Vandoorne is one of the rare drivers who got to F1 on talent alone.

    2. @juanmelendezr1, I note that you have ignored the fact that Kvyat comes from the Asiatic part of Russia in your post.

      With your post, you seem to throw all the accusations at the teams with your accusations of bias, yet do not seem to be prepared to consider other possible explanations. If you look at South America, the Formula 3 Sudamericana series went into bankruptcy in 2013, and by that time virtually the only drivers competing in that series were Brazilians. As far as I can tell, quite a few of the national racing series, such as the Argentine Formula 3 and Formula Renault series, went bankrupt in the mid 2000’s and, though I might be mistaken, there doesn’t seem to have been much of a recovery in national junior racing series since then.

      There is the Brazilian Formula 3 series, but that is focussed more on their internal motorsport series, such as the Stock Car series, rather than looking outwards towards the rest of the world. Apart from that, there is the Panam GP series in Mexico – now, it is true that a lot of junior racing series have collapsed, not just in South America but also in Europe, but it does seem to have left a bit of a gap in the potential for career progression for aspiring drivers at the national level.

      If you look towards Asia, the main motorsport series that has international renown is in Japan – however, back in the mid 1990’s the Japanese series branched off from most other Formula 3 series in terms of their regulations. Over time, that does seem to have resulted in the Japanese Formula 3 series feeding drivers towards the Japanese Super Formula series, along with the Super GT series.

      I think that it is perhaps wrong to suggest that there is an intentional bias of the teams towards European drivers – rather, I feel that it is a consequence of the fact that more European junior series have survived for longer in recent years, whereas a number of the more prominent international junior series have gradually faded away.

    3. Vandoorne gets trashed by Alonso

      I disagree with this. Alonso is, without any doubt, a very experienced and highly respected driver. On the other hand, Vandoorne seems to be able to achieve more consistent results in a temperamental car than Alonso has. This is rather surprising, I’d have expected it to be the other way around. So far this season Vandoorne has crossed the finish time 7 times compared to Alonso who has been crossed the finish line 3 times and been classified as finished (i.e. retired but had completed 90% of the race) another 2 times, a total of 5 times. So saying Vandoorne was “trashed” by Alonso is an exaggeration. I don’t know why it is Vandoorne has managed to complete more races than Alonso, but if that trend continues I wouldn’t be surprised if Vandoorne finishes the season with more more points in the WDC than Alonso.

    4. You mad bro?

      Mexico has not one, but two f1 drivers less than 2 years ago… and a race.

      This is a $$$$ thing, not a nationality thing.

    5. @juanmelendezr1 So which non-European talents do you think have been unfairly overlooked in recent seasons?

      1. Recent seasons:
        Facundo Regalia, GP3 front runner, very close to win the championship.
        Kamui Kobayashi, Unfairly ditched.
        Jose María Lopez, Unfairly overlooked, WTCC Champ, FE front runner.
        Lucas di Grassi, Unfairly ditched, FE Champ.
        Santiago Urrutia, a great talent in the making.
        Alexander Rossi, unfairly overlooked, indy500 winner.

        1. But there’s a ton of European talents who’ve been overlooked as well. It’s just how it goes. From Formula E alone there’s been Buemi, Rosenqvist, Vergne, Frijns etc.
          It’s just the way motorsport is at the moment, the majority of series that have a good level of drivers are in Europe. Like someone has said above, a lot of motorsport series outside of Europe simply don’t have the money and have gone bankrupt and had to shut down, it’s not that F1 prefers European talent, it’s just that there isn’t much non-European talent at the moment, and there’s only 20 seats available.

          1. But you can’t deny there is at least some bias in driver selection and permanence, we can agree Perez is as good or even a better driver than Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Bottas, a lot better than Palmer or Magnussen, and all those guys need no huge backing to be in f1, If not for the sponsorship money Perez wouldn’t even put a foot in the paddock.

          2. It’s easy to deny bias, because it’s just not true. There’s no bias at all, no evidence for it and no reason for such a bias to even exist. It’s purely down to numbers.

        2. @juanmelendezr1, considering a number of the drivers that you have mentioned, in the case of Kobayashi, it has to be said that he was effectively ditched from Sauber in favour of Hulkenberg, a driver who has generally been rated more highly than Kobayashi overall.

          In the case of Facundo Regalia, I do not want to seem harsh, but it seems that one season in GP3 was a bit of a one off – his performances in series such as Formula BMW were nothing special (16th in his rookie year, then 8th in his second and third year), and only 10th in the Italian Formula 3 series.

          With Jose María Lopez, again his junior career doesn’t look stunning at first glance – only 6th in Formula 3000, whilst in GP2 he was only 9th and 10th. Whilst he has won titles in the WTCC, he has been driving for Citroen at a time when they have had a massive performance advantage (even with the full 80kg of ballast they’ve had to run from the very first race) and the series has taken a real nose dive in terms of competitiveness and quality.

          I’d also take issue with your claim that Perez wouldn’t be in the paddock without sponsorship when he was also being backed by Ferrari and with Ferrari having been involved in brokering his seat at Sauber.

          As for claiming that Palmer doesn’t need to bring money, well, I don’t know where you got that from, but it’s a pretty open secret in F1 that he is paying for his seat. All of the other drivers that you mention in that list do have at least some degree of personal sponsorship too.

          I’ll be honest, it feels a bit like you have come to this discussion with a preconceived bias and an unwillingness to consider any alternative reason.

        3. @juanmelendezr1 going to be blunt here, but if you are seriously suggesting Urrutia, Regalia and Lopez have been unfairly overlooked based on their junior records, then your idea about what kind of resume should get you to F1 is severely lacking. Even Rossi’s is highly debatable – he took far too much time on the top level of the junior series to get competitive and even then finally got thoroughly beaten by Vandoorne, the same driver that kicked off your initial point.

          The selection criteria in single seaters are mostly doing very well (winning one or more series), and getting up to speed quickly. Heck Palmer won GP2 and was still seen as not worthy to come to F1 as he took 4 seasons for winning it. di Grassi took four seasons and did not win it (granted he got up to speed quicker than Palmer, but still) – and to again compare with the driver who kicked it all off: di Grassi in four seasons won less in GP2 than Vandoorne did in just his championship year alone, and he took just one pole position over four seasons.

          The bar to get to F1 is exceptionally high – unless there’s bags and bags of money involved, of course. But on the current grid, the amount of pay drivers without a resume good enough for F1 is surprisingly low.

  8. Evil Homer (@)
    23rd August 2017, 15:13

    A good move from McLaren and really not that unexpected.
    Stoffel maybe a bit slower and unexciting than maybe expected but he is in a crap car against maybe the best- so not a bad year

    all equal next year he needs to close up on Fernando or be quicker (which he wont)- but must show solid speed ‘for sure’

  9. Waste of a seat. They should give this seat to Leclerc or Giovanazzi instead.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      23rd August 2017, 19:45

      Giovanazzi hasn’t looked great the few times he’s been on the track this year. Decent in his first race. But then a heavy crash in Q1 in China. Then another heavy crash in the race. Then the next time we saw him in practice one race weekend, he crashed…

      Not to say he can’t be decent, he did show this in Australia. But I think Vandoorne will be a fair bit better. But I have to say, I have been disappointed with Vandoorne’s performance this season. He has had many crashes and a penalty that no other driver has got in simply years I think for ignoring blue flags. But he also has had a few decent performances and based on his past, I think he has potential to be better than he has shown us so far.

      I don’t quite understand why this is suddenly news today. I heard the McLaren team speaking to Channel 4 last race weekend that it was already confirmed that Vandoorne would be racing for them next year. I thought this deal was confirmed weeks ago. Is there something different about confirming it this now?

      1. @thegianthogweed, there have been a few penalties for blue flag infractions in recent years – Gutierrez picked up two in the Hungarian GP last year (which was part of the reason why quite a few drivers were so critical of his driving standards last year), as did Wehrlein in Monaco.

        What was unusual in Vandoorne’s case was that he had ignored the blue flags and been blocking Kimi for at least two laps during the Austrian GP – that is an unusually long period of time to fail to notice blue flags.

    2. Except your pair are on ferrari’s accounts and Mclaren aren’t sauber or Haas.

Comments are closed.