Stoffel Vandoorne is adamant he is ready to lead McLaren when Fernando Alonso opts to leave, whether that be at the end of this year or some time in the future.
This year’s campaign marks Vandoorne’s first full season in Formula 1, and it has been a rather trying one.
Off the pace thanks to an under-powered and unreliable Honda engine, the Belgian racer has managed just 13 points.
That, though, is two more than Alonso has scored.
At present Vandoorne is the only one of the two McLaren drivers with a contract in place for next season as Alonso continues to debate his future.
Should the Spaniard opt not to re-sign, Vandoorne reckons he’s got what it takes to lead McLaren.
Asked if he was ready to ‘lead’ the team should Alonso leave, he told RACER: “A hundred percent.
“I think everything is going in the good direction. The team relies a lot on me, because I spend a lot of time in the factory as well with the aerodynamicists, in the simulator, with the other technical guys.
“So for sure [I feel ready to lead]. I mean, Fernando is not going to continue forever so how long he will stay in F1, if he will stay with us, I don’t know.
“I’m just pushing from my side, not thinking too much about my team-mate to be honest and to really trying to prepare for the future.”