Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

McLaren announce Vandoorne will not drive for them in 2019

2019 F1 season

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Stoffel Vandoorne will leave McLaren at the end of the year, the team has announced.

“We’re immensely thankful for Stoffel’s dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “He’s a talented racing driver with an incredible list of accolades in his junior career. We’re proud to have played a part in his break into Formula 1, from his role as test driver to his fantastic points-scoring debut in Bahrain in 2016.”

The news means McLaren will have a completely new driver line-up next year, as Carlos Sainz Jnr will take Fernando Alonso’s place at the team. Vandoorne has struggled alongside Alonso this year and has been out-qualified by his team mate in all 14 races so far.

However Brown admitted Vandoorne hasn’t had a competitive car during his time at the team.

“It’s clear we haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent,” said Brown. But throughout our relationship he’s proved to be a fantastic team player.

“His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we’ve really enjoyed working with him. Of course, we would have loved to achieve more success during our time together, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he will always be a part of the McLaren family of grand prix drivers.

“For now, we look to the future and to the remaining grands prix in 2018, where I know both Stoffel and Fernando will be pushing hard to fight for as many points as possible before we close the curtain on this season.

“We wish Stoffel all the best in whatever direction he chooses to take next in his career, and we’ll be supporting him all the way. We will announce our full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course.”

Vandoorne joined the team’s young driver programme five years ago. He made his debut for them as a substitute for Fernando Alonso in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, and started his first full season at the team last year.

“I’m very grateful to McLaren for investing their faith in me over the past five years,” he said.

“While we haven’t achieved the success we’d all hoped for, I’ve really enjoyed the past two seasons racing for McLaren and I have a great relationship with everyone in the team.

“My time at McLaren has been a great chapter in my career and I’m thankful for the opportunity the team, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh have given me to gain valuable Formula 1 experience and develop as a driver. I intend to give it my all for the remaining seven races of this season, and will announce my plans for next season in due course.”

McLaren said last week it will announce its driver line-up for the 2019 F1 season by the end of this month.

View the current list of 2019 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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  • 120 comments on “McLaren announce Vandoorne will not drive for them in 2019”

    1. Incredibly harsh, a real shame, and a total waste of his talent. Let’s hope somebody, anybody, picks him up, because if this is the end of his F1 career McLaren have blood on their hands.

      1. @hahostolze Sorry but how is this of all things incredibly harsh? How many times was he last in a session this year alone? And no, the Mclaren is not (always) the slowest car on the grid as much as i enjoy watching them dent their ginormous egos.

        1. @mrboerns Well for one, people keep using that out-qualified thing as a reason, but he actually has a better average quali deficit to Alonso than any driver since Massa in 2011, I believe. Which means he did better than Kimi, Massa post 2012, anyone. That tells more than his being out-qualified. Secondly, the car was a dog. His chassis had to be changed. All of these things can’t be held against him, yet are. His talent is undoubtable, perhaps the best junior record of any driver currently vying for an F1 seat. He’s a real racer too. At any other team, he’d have been put on the pedestal of an Ocon. But at McLaren, he’s dead meat.

            1. Another talent which is going down the drain. Way to early to debute at McLaren he should start at een lower team like Torro Rosso less presure.

            2. Lower than Mclaren??

          1. @hahostolze I disagree. I mean Vandoorne was clearly promising and deserved his seat. But unlike Magnussen and Pérez, Vandoorne was given plenty opportunities to shine. I don’t know exactly why he didn’t as I thought he was a super star, but the reality is that he hasn’t. Worse of all he doesn’t seem better than he was last year. I still think Vandoorne can make a great career in F1, but I also understand the need for McLaren to make room for another potential super star Lando Norris. But hey… Feel free to hate on McLaren, it’s a popular and lazy thing to do in F1 these days

            1. Maybe its clear why MAG did beat him in a lower raceclass – MAG is a much better driver but never was able to show it in F1 before Haas

          2. Many junior superstars flop in the big league.

      2. And its also not like he was improving…

        1. But neither is the team @mrboerns, and they seem so lacking in understanding of where the problems are, that it doesn’t seem quite surprising that Vandoorne can’t work it out reliably either. Of course, Alonso keeps driving the race of his career, if only the car would work, but that doesn’t help his team mate.

      3. I tend to agree. Clearly they didn’t get the best out of Vandoorne.

        Aside from Hamilton, in recent times McLaren haven’t been the best at getting getting guys that are relatively early in their careers and developing them into fully fledged race drivers. The likes of Kovalainen, Perez, K-Mag come to mind.

        1. Yeah, forgot about @tomcat173 (which shows what you mean, I think)

          1. LOL, this is getting a bit stupid, apparently I even forgot to type Kovalainen’s name!

      4. Blood on their hands lmao.

    2. Hopefully he finds his way into a Torro Rosso rather than Kvyat.

      1. Hopefully not

        1. What? You want more Kvyat? lol

    3. Not surprising but disappointing all the same. Driving one of the worst cars on the grid, in the shadow of a racing legend, for a team without any direction or leadership. It was always going to be next to impossible for Stoffel to shine in that environment. I hope another team gives him a chance as he’s had some occasions of very decent performance this year.

      Frankly he should be glad to be out of that toxic environment.

      1. He’s slow. You’re forgetting that point.

        1. Totally agree…And then you put the fact that Alonso never been a good qualifier, he has an amazing racecraft and amazing abilities In a dog fight and Alonso sometimes even is 5 or 6 places ahead of him, can you imagine what a good qualifier like hamilton or vettel would do in that McLaren vs stoffel… ?

          I think he is very mediocre driver, I rate Marcus even higher than him

          1. Have to agree with you, hamilton vs vandoorne would be even worse for the sole reason that the midfield is very tight, so a little qualifying advantage means the world.

    4. Stoffel deserved better. He’s never had a McLaren that really worked for him, and that’s a terrible place to have to learn F1 from. Granted, his results haven’t been great, but I think they’ve shown the natural level of the car in the hands of a “standard” F1 driver (as opposed to a former world champion). He hasn’t done anything silly.

      McLaren does have a bit of a driver logjam. I am expecting Lando Norris to be in the car next year, unless the paddock psuedopolitical polka gets going properly.

      *reviews sentence*

      I’ll get my ear defenders – it’ll probably be an opportunist selection from whoever loses out on the polka…

      1. I have a dream that one day people will stop claiming that FA magically drives slow cars (substantially) faster than they are capable of…

        1. @mrboerns
          That’s an odd dream. Honestly, I fail to see the problem with that. There’s obviously no magic involved, and Alonso clearly cannot break the laws of physics. That’s just a form of hyperbole. But in a way, this reflects his uncanny ability of extracting decent or even outstanding performances from ill-handling cars that are backmarker material in many other drivers’ hands.

          My dream is pretty much the opposite of yours:
          I retroactively wish people stopped claiming that Alonso is some sort of black magician who curses his team mates’ cars by asking his team to develop them in a direction that only he can cope with, while his respective team mate can’t.
          Sounds ludicrous, is ludicrous, but it was the underlying worldview of many a defense of Räikkönen’s inexcusable 2014 performance.

          1. What about contracted number 1 status? Wouldn’t be surprised if he has had that at McLaren, and i don’t think he would care if it ruined stoffs career as long as his own value was boosted

          2. What Alonso could do was take advantage of every opportunity to maximise the potential of his car, including picking his battles, slip streaming faster cars. Alonso was constantly thinking in his car and evaluating the race situation.
            In a way, that enables you too or perform the car.

            1. Also, don’t forget, Alonso is allowed to take risks that other drivers certainly will be punished for.
              Had Stoffel raced in 2017 like Alonso (ending up 15 laps short on fuel) he would’ve been chewed and spit out at McLaren. Had he made as many contacts with other cars, with partial blame, he would’ve gotten a penalty point amount as large as an international phone number.
              This weekends stupidity with Magnussen is a perfect example.

            2. @ George
              15 laps short on fuel? We’re reaching levels of nonsense that shouldn’t even be possible.
              With a fuel flow limit of 100 kg/h and a maximum permitted fuel load of 105 kg, it takes 63 minutes to empty the fuel tank of an F1 car with a stuck throttle.
              I had a look at the races from the 2017 season that might fit your description (Alonso retiring with roughly 15 laps to go), and I found the following races: British GP (DNF on lap 32/51; -19 laps) and Belgian GP (DNF on lap 25/44; -19 laps).
              For his retirements to be due to excessive fuel consumption, Alonso would’ve needed to:
              A) lap at 100% full throttle and an average lap time of 1:58.125 (British GP; i.e. some 25 seconds off the pace), or 2:31.2 (Belgian GP; i.e. some 35-40 seconds off the pace), or
              B) start the race with no more than 85 (British GP) or 78 (Belgian GP) litres of fuel on board, and burn them away as quickly as theoretically possible (100% full throttle, using the maximum fuel flow at any given moment of the race, including mid-corner and during pit stops, safety cars, etc.) while posting the lap times he did, according to the lap charts (1:36 in Silverstone, 1:53 in Spa).

              Sounds absolutely laughable? Well, that’s just the direct extrapolation of your version of the truth.

            3. @nase

              They don’t have to fill the car full of 105kg of fuel. Lower fuel gives faster lap times, drivers just need to remember to go easy and use less fuel especially when they start with less than they need. Also there is no max limit of fuel they can put in the car, they just can’t use more than the specified amount during the race.

            4. Dear @9chris9 , if you had read my comment in its entirety, you would’ve noticed that the latter part of it is based on the knowledge you’re trying to impart on me.

          3. There is no magic? Oh no!

            1. @johnmilk
              Except in your eyes, of course.

            2. you know me so well

        2. @mrboerns

          I sent in a question to Gary Anderson on Autosport’s Ask Gary column a few years ago asking a similar question, about driver’s like Alonso driving faster than the car is capable of. Obviously his response was that was that it was impossible, but he did go on to say that Alonso was extremely good at consistently getting the maximum out of the car. This is what makes him stand out. There aren’t many drivers out that there can claim to have similar levels of consistency.

          1. McLaren are 6th in the constructers entirely down to Alonso maximising opportunities, in front of the faster Sauber.

            1. No, they are 6th because of fault by Haas. They had a lot of luck in the first half.. but by now the car is showing his true potential.


              where I know both Stoffel and Fernando will be pushing hard to fight

              at least Alonso started the fighting part

        3. That’s what world class drivers do, @mrboerns.


    6. A shame, really. I hope he can find a seat elsewhere, where he’ll be able to show his talent. Pairing with Alonso at McLaren is probably the worst nightmare you can imagine.
      As for McLaren line-up in 2019 I doubt Norris will get in and I see either Perez or Ocon with Sainz.

      1. Ocon-Sainz would be nice

        1. Or would have been, seeing Norris confirmed now.

      2. Shows how much you know.

        1. Thanls for the constructive comment mate, anytime!

    7. The biggest dissapointment on the grid. He was expected to be an Verstsappen but hes more in line with the bottom of the field.

    8. Vandoorne didn’t perform to the high expectations, having Alonso as team-mate and poor car didn’t help as well. I don’t want to be too harsh on him, but there are many great drivers and unfortunately not many grid spots. There are pay-drivers as well. Wish there were two or three more teams to give others chances, providing they are not many seconds behind current slowest team.

    9. I’m actually a little surprised. I thought Vandoorne would be in the team for at least a season because they could gauge Sainz while also maintaining a little bit of consistency during this transition period. I guess McLaren is taking the approach of starting over fresh completely and they rather have 2 fresh drivers right from the start.

      If I had to guess.. I’m leaning towards a Sainz-Ocon pairing at McLaren, with Lando in a reserve driver role (if not at Toro Rosso).

      1. Lando is Just announcec for 2019

        1. I spoke 30 mins too soon… (facepalm)

      2. Yup shows how much you know too. Probably better to keep your mouth shut. Now you just look like a fool.

        1. Being a brat will not help you here.

        2. Jesus, you’re so cool. I hope I can be as cool as you someday. At least the “I told you so” people actually did something before dragging others down. What’s your merit, besides being cool, you cucumber, you.

        3. nobody claimed to ‘know’, rather ‘guess’ or ‘doubt’.

          I hope you heed your own recommendation, @BMF66!

        4. @BMF66
          A riddle for you:
          Why would any human with a SHRED of decency make such a remark?
          Answer: They wouldn’t.

          Please remove his remarks and ban him!
          This is nothing more than a personal attack and has no place here.

    10. I don’t necessarily understand this sympathy for Vandoorne “for not providing him with a competitive car”. How many drivers in F1 started with a competitive car? Alonso started with Minardi, Raikkonen started with Sauber, Ricciardo, Vettel and Verstappen all started with Toro-Rosso, even Leclerc is currently in a Sauber that is probably a worse car than the McLaren for most races this season, yet we don’t see him complaining about “not being able to show my talent because I don’t drive a Ferrari”. And to be fair, the 2017 McLaren may have been slow, but it was a very drivable car, and one that should make life easier for him. Thing is, Vandoorne simply hasn’t been good enough. Alonso is a great driver, but to only outqualify him 3 times in 33 races? And of those three, twice can be attributed to Alonso taking a grid penalty for the race anyway, so he didn’t participate fully in Q2, with Malaysia being the only weekend where Vandoorne has done well. It says something when you have a worse record than Felipe Massa, and at the age of 26 as well, not like he’s 19.

      1. Thats what you get for taking lessons from your experienced Teammate- of course he performed admirably, best race ever, if only the car…..

      2. @mashiat My sympathy comes from a combination of him having had great junior series results, only to have to then wait until he’s 26 to get into a McLaren, where they first had got rid of Magnussen after 2015, who had been a McLaren promise the year before when they got rid of Perez, but only after Button had had enough in during 2016. McLaren also got rid of Nick de Vries (who’s doing well now in F2) – I detect a pattern of not really being able to give their ‘young promise’ a good shot, who then manage quite well in other teams (okay Magnussen needed a bit with that Lotus/Renault, but Perez was right back to his pre McL shape). So, I expect that given a chance, he might well prove to be an adequate driver after all.

        1. @bosyber Nelson Piquet Jr. did also have a great junior career. In the 2006 GP2 season, he got more poles than the current holder of the record for most poles in F1 history, and narrowly lost out to him in the championship (albeit in his second season of GP2, but even still it was a commendable achievement). And yet, he was one of the worst drivers I saw in my time in F1. Could barely go a weekend without crashing, and couldn’t get near Alonso to save his life.

          1. Which is why I said ‘combination’ @mashiat – also, one might even say that him winning the first Formula-e season proves he wasn’t all that bad as a driver (leaving his, and his WDC father’s morals aside), but that in the toxic environs of Briatore/Alonso Renault, his problems were magnified (GRO also only managed to get solid after they weren’t at the team, and apparently still has problems – not saying it’s due to them, but wasn’t helped, I think).

          2. @mashiat I think Piquet Jr was/is way better than he was able to show in F1.

            I don’t think Renault alongside Alonso who was clear #1 was the best environment for him & I also don’t feel he got as much support from the team as he probably needed due to there focus been 100% on Alonso. I also think those cars were tricky to drive & that Alonso’s experience (And fact he’s probably the best driver on the grid) helped him drive around that while Piquet having less experience found it harder to figure out how to get around the cars problems.

            I said at the time & still believe now that had Piquet been in another team a bit further down the grid that were giving him more support with a less imposing team mate I think he’d have done a lot better & stayed around a lot longer.

            Sometimes you see a driver enter a team & just not gel with that team for whatever reason & therefore not be able to show the best of there abilities. We saw it with both Perez & Magnussen at McLaren as well as Montoya who never looked as good at McLaren as he had at Williams despite in 2005 probably having a better car than he’d ever had at Williams. Going back further look at Frentzen, He looked like a likely star of the future at Sauber in 94-96 yet struggled at Williams in 97/98 yet in ’99 at Jordan in an environment he felt more comfortable in he once again looked like the future star everyone thought he was while at Sauber.

            1. Very true about montoya and frentzen, the 2005 mclaren was a rocket and he was nowhere compared to raikkonen, yet he was fighting WITH raikkonen in 2003 with a williams very similar to that mclaren, and frentzen couldn’t perform only the year he was given the best car, 1997, oddly enough.

      3. Pedant mode on: Dan started his career with HRT and Seb with BMW Sauber.. Pedant mode off: ;)

        1. @rich I had forgotten about those, but Vettel did only do 1 race for BMW, and Ricciardo started with HRT, which actually makes my argument slightly stronger.

          1. @mashiat — yea I know I was just being very pedantic! I agree your point is valid because Stoffel has had his chance and has not impressed .. for me the only memorable drive of his was his first one standing in for Fernando in Bahrain 2016 …

            1. @rich Malaysia 2017 was also one, and I think it was better than Bahrain. He had the measure of Alonso throughout the weekend and finished 6 places ahead on merit. But if McLaren wanted someone who could put in 2-3 great performances a year, they might as well have gotten Maldonado in.

      4. I disagree: he signed up for McLaren five years ago. The great McLaren! Not Minardi, Sauber or any other team that would never be expected to make major leaps forward. In hindsight, which team would you have preferred to start your career?

        1. @hogee I don’t quite get your point. True, Vandoorne probably expected more from McLaren than any of those guys did from their respective teams, but does that excuse his performances? It was the same for Perez and Magnussen, but those guys did do a better job than Vandoorne.

          1. They also did a better job than alonso is doing. So what!?

      5. Well no one of the drivers you mentioned had to start next to a two

    11. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      3rd September 2018, 11:25

      He’s not been as good as anticipated but he deserves another chance much like K-Mag

    12. Norris confirmed?

      1. @nemo87 No one’s been confirmed yet.

        1. Norris has just been confirmed haha.

    13. Unsurprising.

    14. Great for him and totally in line with the series of bad decisions by McLaren these past seasons.

      I am sure ALO will get a bloody nose in US, McLaren will remain last row for at least two more seasons, if not many more, and Stoffel will have a fine career elsewhere.

    15. Stoffel wont be the first that’s come from F2 with high expectations and not lived up to them and certainly won’t be the last but I can’t help getting the feeling that he’s driving a “spare parts” car this year and has been royally shafted by Mclaren.

      The team is in complete disarray, their senior management seem to have “other things” on their plate and can’t even be bothered focusing on their F1 team.

      I hope he gets a chance at another team for at least one more season – I don’t think we’ve been given an opportunity to see what he’s capable of.

      Hopefully Ocon won’t be forced to join such a toxic mess.

    16. I hope this means Ocon gets a drive, even if it means he has to leave the Mercedes family. It’s harsh on Stoff though, I hope he gets another run at things one day because he’s not the worst driver out there. Alonso has dominated many drivers in his career…one who even won the WDC.

      1. Yes, I think qualifying battle and stuff was as bad as vandoorne’s vs raikkonen.

    17. Must will read into this that McLaren is sacking Stoffel, but the press text is issued by both parties together. For all we know, Stoffel has been proactive and is pursuing other plans. I wouldn’t blame him for that.

      1. @hogee Indeed, the tone is a bit unusual, like a common deal. I hope it means seeing Vandoorne in another car next year but I’m not sure about that.

      2. I have to agree with the both of you there @hogee, @spoutnik. Didn’t McLaren mention that they were still looking at 4 ppl only a day or so ago and expecting to announce who will be in the car only later (october was mentioned I think?).

        From that, and from the tone of the announcement, it would make sense that Vandoorne asked them to free him up to sign elsewhere. On the other hand, if negotiations are still ongoing elsewhere it would have been more beneficial for Stoffel to keep up the facade of having a shot at McLaren too.

        1. @bascb for what it’s worth the belgian commentator who knows Stoffel well, without being in the loop said that Stoffel looks serene. Future probably already settled but in F1? Who knows.

          1. I think that Stoffel certainly deserves to have a long career ahead of him @spoutnik!

    18. This is fair from Mclaren, 100% loss rate in quali against his team mate, coming last recently, Alonso 44 points to 8, pretty much every driver has had some some nice moves at some point during the year, I don’t remember SVD having any. He is a nice guy, but F1 is cut throat, he simply has not been close to good enough. One or two more decent Sauber weekends and Ericsson could beat him in the wdc, even Stroll could catch him.

      Here’s hoping Ocon gets the seat.

    19. McLaren has become a real meat mincer. Three very talented youngsters have been put in the sidelines in no time, first Perez, then Magnussen and now poor Stoffel. I’d think twice if I were Lando Norris! Poor Carlos is going to end the same way if the team doesn’t react quickly which doesn’t seem very likely

      1. I always forget about the Perez episode. Mclaren in a nutshell. the “no more development potential” 2012 car (mp4/whatshamacallit) is probably still faster than anything they have come up with since.

        1. I looked it up cause I was interested, I don’t think you meant it literally due to the huge progress in the last 2 years in the lap times, however hamilton got pole in 2012 in 1.24.0, alonso here managed 1.21.85 for 13th place.

          If we look at the toro rosso for example, a backmarker team who is still here today, ricciardo managed a 1.25.3 back then and this time gasly 1.21.3, so as you can see, while literally obviously this horrible mclaren is faster than the 2012 mclaren class of the field, they only improved 2.15 sec so far and toro rosso improved 4 sec, that’s really bad!

    20. Pretty furry for Vandoorne, yes we all expected more from him with his junior career record but to be thrown out in the knowledge that all the issues he’s had, the general issues with the car and all makes me quite sad for him.

      Hoping that Fred Vasseur has already signed him up for Sauber!

      1. Hoping that Fred Vasseur has already signed him up for Sauber!

        I wish too but I wouldn’t hold my breath on it. Sauber being Ferrari-B, they would probablye hire Giovinazzy instead.

    21. I’m very disappointed by this. It’s becoming a long list…

    22. I wonder what impression we’d have of Ocon or Leclerc if they had been in that McLaren with Alonso as their teammate.

    23. Poor kid. Hard to tell if he just isn’t that special or if Alonso is just so good at driving around a poor car it’s showing him up.

      I think McLaren would have been better keeping him as a benchmark for Sainz and giving him a few races next season to turn things around before dropping him.

      1. I think hamilton showed that alonso is great but when paired with a really strong driver he’s human.

        So I think that looks bad for vandoorne but also equally bad for raikkonen in 2014.

    24. Feel bad for Vandoorne. The guy’s not forgotten how to drive? He certainly deserves a spot in F1. Kinda hoping Toro Rosso, Williams or Sauber pick him up so he can have ‘restart’ like Perez & Magnussen got after their treatment at McLaren. That team just seems to have no idea what to do with some drivers, or focus their efforts on one and leave the other with poor support – their record for disposing of ‘promising talent’ is worrying. Either way – their car issues are far more pressing than their drivers so I can’t help but think consistency would help them more than an ‘all-change’ idea.

    25. At first, I thought was a harsh move but Stoffel and his fans should be happy.
      He will end up at Torro Rosso, which is far and away a better drive than McLaren, at least at this time. Marko may have wanted Stoffel and not Norris all the while.

      Stoffel will get a chance to prove himself a very good driver and I think he will.
      In the end it will probably save his career and possibly get him a better seat if he performs to his capabilities.

      Norris, on the other hand, will be under pressure to live up to his highly regarded image, which is questionable to say the least. I think his chances of failing at McLaren are higher than Stoffel’s if he goes to Torro..

      Having said that, Zak had to give Norris a chance as he is a Brit and McLaren fans would be incensed if RBR signed him and he became the next HAM. The same fans that are screaming at Zak for letting Stoffel go would be doing the same if RBR signed Morris. Zak can’t win in this case.

      So congratulations Stoffel, I hope you flourish at Torro Rosso. I suspect you will be passing papaya colored cars a lot next year.

    26. I think this is the result of the shift in talent development. In the old days, people drove for bad teams, But it was a step to a better team.

      Now every team has his own junior talent program and it’s pretty much impossible to get a good drive if you are not selected. And then you are easily discarded for the next talent, cause people jump straight into F1 from a year F2. Tough times to be a young driver with F1 ambition.

    27. I hope he gets a shot elsewhere because I fully believe that Vandoorne is better than he’s been able to show the last 2 years at McLaren.

      People were writing off Perez & Magnussen after they ‘failed’ at McLaren yet both have gone on to do better post McLaren & I Hope/Expect Stoffel to do the same if given a chance elsewhere.

      1. The difference with Perez is that he already proved himself in the Formula while driving for Sauber, and it was hardly as if Button was snatching podiums while Perez was trundling around in the mid-field, he was actually pretty close most weekends.

        K-Mag came off a little worse VS Button, but it was his 1st season in the sport, Vandoorne has shown very little improvement from last season to now, if anything going backwards since the summer break. How many seasons can you give someone before moving on??

        1. @joeypropane @stefmeister
          Is it possible that Vandoorne was such a bad driver? Why would McLaren give him a drive? Surprisingly he drove his best when he filled in once.

        2. @joeypropane I think something to take into consideration this year is that according to Alonso the data has been showing that there’s some sort of problem with Vandoorne’s car that’s causing it to produce less downforce than Alonso’s & that no matter what parts they change it doesn’t seem to fix it.

          It seems like it’s a very clear thing they can see on the data but they can’t figure out what’s causing it.

    28. Very surprised so many are so upset about this – Fact of the matter is that he never looked fully comfortable with the Formula and was not only consistently slower than his team mate, but also slower than drivers that don’t have the same junior record and are also in cars that are every bit as finicky as the McLaren (qualifying behind the likes of Stroll and Sirotkin in that dog of a Williams 3/4 of the last race weekends is awful whichever way you cut it).

      It’s the same as Hartley, people seem quick to defend him when all he has done is show he isn’t even mid-field F1 material. But then again, I always felt it was the same with Paul DiResta, but at least he could claim to be reliably and consistently “ok”….

      1. Qualifying behind Stroll and Sirotkin makes me believe Williams is improving their car, while McLaren can’t be bothered.
        Even Alonso, with all his experience was just in front of the Williams’. And the gap to Alo is what it is: about .3s on average. Do you claim the same from Ricciardo or Bottas?

        1. Problem Vandoorne has is that he is like a Button turned up to 11 – when everything works for him, he absolutely demolishes his competition (as that junior series record shows), but he apparently has zero capability to drive a car that isn’t working for him – there just doesn’t seem to be any of that hustle, heart and will to get the results that the likes of Lewis, Fernando, Seb and the RBR pair have that allow them to transcend their machinery.

          But I thought that he was a personality black hole the first time I saw him being interviewed, so maybe that’s just his personality, rather than a measure of his talent…

          1. Hamilton CANNOT be in that list: whenever the car isn’t to his liking he has an off weekend, look at these recent examples: china and canada 2018, russia and monaco 2017.

    29. His junior records don’t lie. He might be another Hartley. Great sportscar record but just misses that edge to be a F1 driver. A guy like Stoffel won’t be sitting at home for too long though. There might be a lot of LMP teams willing to sign him.

      Perez and Magnussen have done well for themselves after leaving Mclaren. Maybe Stoffel can go to Toro Rosso and get his career back on track.

    30. Hope he finds a drive in F1 next year to show off the talent he displayed in gp2 He needed out of that mess.

    31. Yet the beginning of Vandoorne’s F1 career looked so promising. He got 25% of the votes in the RF DotW poll after his debut race, the 2016 Bahrain GP – only Grosjean, who finished 5th in a Haas, got more appreciation.

      1. I think he was even looking good at some point around malaysia 2017, when he beat alonso on merit that qualifying and race and was scoring consistently in a very bad mclaren.

        At this point mclaren is getting so much worse than early 2018 that it’s hard to say this is a better car though.

    32. Corrupted bussiness! Money above experience, and this is where F1 and FIA will never get great drivers! I’ll NEVER watch again!

      1. Yep, welcome to the bureaucratic cut throat world of F1, where money, not talent, often enables the under performers to get a seat. Farce!

    33. Since he struggled so much in F1, I have wondered if he was actually just more developed driver early on. It’s also notable that of the current 20 drivers in F1, Stoffel made his debut as 2nd oldest – trailing only Brendon Hartley. Added to that he became regular driver almost a year after his debut.

    34. You’d expect him to outqualify Alonso at least once. Being beaten 14/14 times in not even your rookie season. Sorry to sound harsh, but that’s a poor record.

      1. Well, ALO out qualified Kimi 16-3 so he’s not the first to fail in that regard.

    35. Mclare is an awful place to be at the moment.
      This could be better for him than it looks.

    36. Signed with Mclaren when they still were somewhere into the top / midfield.
      Drives two of the worst cars ever designed by the team.

      What a waste.
      If the guy isn’t already established, start a F1 career alongside Alonso is suicide. The team will give him all the best resources and parts, the other one will get the remains, underperform and be sacked sooner than later, just like Nelson Piquet Jr ten years ago, and now Vandoorne.

      Huge career mismanagement on both parts.

    37. Not surprising I suppose. If you can’t out-qualify your teammate at least once then clearly something other than the car is not working.

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