Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Silverstone, 2018

McLaren want Vandoorne to beat Alonso more often

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Stoffel Vandoorne needs to start beating Fernando Alonso more often to keep his place in the team, says McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

Vandoorne, who is in his second full second as a Formula 1 driver, has been out-qualified by Alonso in all 12 race weekends so far this year.

Asked whether he was disappointed by the 26-year-old’s performance, Brown said: “I wouldn’t say we’re disappointed by Stoffel.

“We’d like to see him beating his team mate more often than he has. I think that’s the same in any situation, you’d love to see your team mates split right down the middle and beating each other every weekend.

“He’s not been able to do that on a regular basis but I wouldn’t say we’re disappointed because we know we gave him a very difficult situation and this year we’ve not him a very good car to work with. And given Fernando’s talent and experience he’s able to adapt to situations that aren’t great.

“We all believe Stoffel’s done an excellent job. But we would like to see him beat Fernando more often.”

Vandoorne’s future at the team has been the subject of speculation. However Brown insists McLaren will continue to support its driver.

“I think technically we’re giving him a ton of support,” he said, pointing out the team “changed chassis this weekend at his request” to identify the cause of a mysterious handling problem.

“The last two races he’s been off Fernando. But every race driver that Fernando has ever raced against has been off Fernando. So there’s nothing to be ashamed about by getting beat by Fernando, everyone has.

“But the gap the last two races has been larger than normal so we didn’t know if something was wrong with the chassis. So we changed the chassis to give him confidence and commitment and try and identify the issue.”

However Brown admitted the team is considering its driver line-up options for next year as neither driver is confirmed in either of its seats for 2019.

“I think reality is we have two open seats sitting here as we speak and it’s our job to get the best driver situation possible and that requires talking to other drivers up and down pit lane.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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15 comments on “McLaren want Vandoorne to beat Alonso more often”

  1. I would like McLaren to beat Renault, HAAS & Force India more often or Zak should up and go… Pretty hard to throw a guy in a pig of a car against a World Champion known for out driving his car and expect the young fella to win…

  2. You are silly, oh thank you for changing his chassis knowing that even Alonso pointed out that your data was showing he has some mysterious loss of downforce, if you call doing your job “a ton of support” then rest assured your next season will be rubbish as this one.

    1. He should said 733 kg of support…

    2. They changed the chassis with a scrap part. I guess they don’t have 2 new spares

  3. It’s always tough to outshine a weak car with reliability issues and lack of speed, and McLaren seems to be heavily outdeveloped by almost all the midfield teams. Vandoorne was also involved in a couple of first lap incidents and suffered from suboptimal tactical decisions by the team. However, if we take Alonso out of the equation, and measure McLaren based only on Vandoorne’s achievements, it looks dramatic. However, as a McLaren seat doesn’t seem to be that attractive as it used to be, I don’t see no reason why Vandoorne couldn’t retain his for next year.

  4. McLaren should just wake up to reality and start all over again, beginning with a management shakeup!

  5. Maybe Zak isn’t but personally I am disappointed by Stoffel Vandoorne.

    1. I’m disappointed in Stoffel too, mainly because he’s too damned nice…
      I’m way more disappointed in McLaren though, because they seem unable to make a decent car.
      -Outfitted with the Mercedes PU they were the worst of the customer teams (Force India twice had drivers taking each other out, but were more often in point scoring positions the rest of the season)
      -Outfitted with the Honda, it was a complete disaster, mainly due to reliability issues.
      -Now they’re by far the slowest Renault equipped team. The development race seems to indicate they’re moving backwards while other teams make a decent progress
      Stoffel won’t beat Alonso this year, in a weak and unpredictable car, often with sub optimal strategy and always a few steps behind in the developement. Zak knows this, but to save his own skin, he’ll gladly throw anyone under whatever moves in front. If signing Sainz helps him retain Alonso for another year, Stoffel is a dead man walking.
      Zak should be honest, and tell it like it is, instead of srewing around with Stoffels’ career.
      Stoffel might not have the support (€/£/$) to recover from this ala Magnussen and Perez

  6. There are reports that they already signed Sainz (that lost his seat to Ocon).

  7. vandoorne’s problem to me seems that he is a very good driver, extremely fast, when in a good car. But when you need to extract something special from a bad car, or drive around its problems, he can’t. Something Alonso has been doing on a regular basis and something I have seen this season from leclerc, stroll and sirotkin. Just my opinion.

    1. It seems like both Prodromou and Stallard agree with you and believe the car is having similar behaviour as the 2014 Red Bull. And according to Belgian TV Prodromou would have likened Stoffel’s issues with the car to Vettel’s that year. Alonso on the other hand would have been able to adapt better.
      Having to focus on development during FPs might also impact him more than Alonso if the car already doesn’t suit him. And, of course, McLaren doesn’t have much good experience lately with using young(er) drivers as shown with Kovalainen, Magnussen & Perez. And, of course, being in a McLaren increases expectations even though we, as spectators, can’t say if the car itself matches those (not even talking about early season expectations here obviously).
      Now don’t get me wrong it might be him doing badly but there are too many unknowns to be sure. Hopefully for him he’ll get another F1 year to show if it was a bad year (given the circumstances I don’t consider last year bad) or if he really isn’t doing good in F1.

  8. That was a good laugh, thanks Zak!

  9. If McLaren want Stoffel to outperform Alonso, why didn’t they send him out again during the last 5 minutes of the Q1 on a fast drying track? That Stoffel needed to pit is to be expected, but why did they keep him in and take this risk? They certainly didn’t take such a risk with Alonso. Had they done so, they would’ve heard, read and felt their mistake, of that I’m sure!

  10. Greater chance of encountering a live unicorn.

  11. Neil (@neilosjames)
    29th July 2018, 17:07

    He didn’t beat Alonso, but I think he had more pace today in the race until he retired. At the very least he was equal to Alonso…

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