McLaren are able to call upon Stoffel Vandoorne again should Lando Norris or Carlos Sainz not be able to take part in a Grand Prix weekend.
Having reserve drivers in place is of even more paramount importance during the revised 2020 schedule which has already seen one driver in Sergio Perez miss two Formula 1 races after testing positive for Covid-19.
Both Racing Point and McLaren have access to Mercedes’ reserve ranks, which currently consist of Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez.
But, as Racing Point found out, they had to look further afield to replace Perez after Vandoorne was unavailable due to his Formula E commitments in Berlin, while it also transpired that Gutierrez did not actually qualify for a superlicence any more.
Racing Point ended up bringing Nico Hulkenberg back in from the sidelines after he left the sport at the end of the 2019 season and is on standby again now that Perez is able to return to action at the Spanish Grand Prix following a negative Covid-19 test.
With Vandoorne and Gutierrez unavailable, McLaren had ex-Formula 1 driver turned Sky Sports F1 pundit Paul Di Resta visit the team for a seat fit just in case they needed someone to step in at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix weekend.
But, with Vandoorne’s Formula E commitments due to be wrapped up, he will back as McLaren’s number one reserve choice at the Circuit de Catalunya.
— Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team (@MercedesEQFE) August 13, 2020
“At the moment our consideration is that we have an agreement with Mercedes regarding the use of their reserve driver in case there’s the need on our side,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said via Autosport.
“What was special [last] weekend is that Stoffel Vandoorne was simply unavailable because he is doing Formula E.
“But with Stoffel being available again from Barcelona onwards, that is our main direction.”
The delayed Formula E season concluded with six races in nine days in Berlin, the last of which will be held on Thursday.
Vandoorne will then travel from Berlin to Barcelona for the Formula 1 race weekend.