Eric Boullier insists Stoffel Vandoorne is “not under pressure” as the rookie driver faces a tough first season in Formula 1.
While most rookies have to prove themselves in their first season in order to remain on the grid, that is not the case for Vandoorne – and that’s a good thing.
The Belgian racer has finished just one race that he started, P13 and two laps down in Australia, while in China he retired.
He didn’t take the start in Bahrain due to yet more reliability issues from engine supplier Honda.
And with few signs that Honda are going to get it right any time soon, this has raised some questions about whether Vandoorne’s will be unfairly penalised.
Boullier insists that won’t be the case.
“He is not under pressure,” the McLaren Racing Director told Auto Motor und Sport.
“Stoffel knows that we believe in him and have him under contract for a long time.
“He does not have to prove to us every race what he can do; we understand that this is not possible at the moment.”
Boullier also touched on McLaren’s decision to allow Alonso to compete in this year’s Indianapolis 500 with the Spaniard missing the Monaco F1 grand prix in order to take the IndyCar grid.
“We do not want the fire in him to go out,” he said. “Fernando wants to be first, no matter what he does, and at the moment he cannot do that in Formula 1.”