McLaren retain Vandoorne for 2018 season


McLaren have announced that Stoffel Vandoorne will remain with the team next season and possibly beyond as his contract length has not been disclosed.

The Belgian, preparing to take part his home grand prix for the first time, has not had the greatest of rookie seasons after a combination of reliability issues with his car and been vastly overshadowed by team-mate Fernando Alonso.

However, McLaren-Honda have seen enough to continue working with Vandoorne for the forseeable future.

"I'm delighted that the team has now formally announced that I will continue to race for them next year," Vandoorne said.

"I'll be able to approach the second half of my rookie season with total focus on the job in hand: namely getting the very most I can out of my car, my engineers, and everything and everyone around me.

"I've already learned such a huge amount in the first half of my first season in Formula 1 – from my engineers, from my mechanics, from Eric [Boullier], from Zak [Brown] and from Jonathan [Neale], and also from Fernando [Alonso], who is a brilliant driver and also an excellent team-mate."

"Last but not least, I want to say thank you to McLaren's partners and fans for their loyalty and enthusiasm – they are the best in the business – and also to McLaren's Executive Committee Principals, [Shaikh] Mohammed and Mansour [Ojjeh], who continue to put their faith in me."

Zak Brown, though, would not commit to just how long Vandoorne's new contract will run for.

"Before anyone asks me any questions about duration, we don't want to go into that kind of confidential contractual detail," the team's executive director Brown said.

"But let me put it this way: when we signed Stoffel, we intended that he would race for us for a significant number of years, and that remains our firm intention."

Eric Boullier also welcome the news, stating that the team have great faith in him to deliver some good results.

"Like all rookies, he's had to learn a lot in the first half of his first Formula 1 season, but we have great confidence in him, and he's getting better and better all the time," said McLaren boss Boullier.

"His team-mate is a tough opponent – that's an understatement in fact, because he's arguably the best driver in the sport today – but Stoffel's robust talent and fierce ambition make us sure that he'll achieve great successes with us in the future."