Alonso backs Vandoorne for future glory


Fernando Alonso has backed his incoming team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne to lead McLaren to a new era in Formula 1.

Vandoorne, who is the current GP2 Champion, will be taking Jenson Button’s race seat in 2017 after the Brit announced that he will be taking a sabbatical next season in the hopes of returning in 2018.

The Belgian youngster was the first McLaren driver this season to secure a point for the Honda-powered team in 2016 after he replaced an injured Alonso at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Spaniard also revealed that he, Vandoorne and Button will all work together in trying to achieve success for McLaren and tipped the 24-year-old to be the premier driver of the team in the future.

"Jenson and myself felt that we have to be helping Stoffel getting into F1 because we know that for the future he will be the man maybe running McLaren," said the double World Champion.

"This year, Jenson and I want to fight and try to beat each other but at the same time try to help the team.

"Stoffel was helping us a lot as test driver, a lot in the simulator and a lot here with the engineers.

"For me it will not be different next year.

"I will try to do my own job but Jenson and myself will be helping Stoffel as much as we can because for the future he will be the man."