McLaren have confirmed that they will not be renewing Stoffel Vandoorne’s contract at the end of the season.
Although the issues with Vandoorne’s car have been well-documented, the pressure has been building on the Belgian throughout the season in which he has failed to outqualify team-mate Fernando Alonso and score zero points since round four in Baku.
Vandoorne was initially on the shortlist for the McLaren seat alongside the incoming Carlos Sainz but, following another anonymous race at Monza, the battle is now between Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, plus McLaren reserve Lando Norris.
“We’re immensely thankful for Stoffel’s dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said in a statement.
“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.
“It’s clear we haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, 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 has been a part of the McLaren set-up since joining their Young Driver Programme in 2013.