McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne has said that he will look outside of the Woking-based team if he can’t get a race-seat at McLaren next season.
The talented Belgian is widely expected to replace Jenson Button at McLaren ahead of the 2017 campaign, but as of yet no announcement regarding the team’s future line-up has been made.
The 24-year-old has already turned out in a grand prix for McLaren, replacing Fernando Alonso in Bahrain in April after the Spaniard’s heavy crash in Australia. Vandoorne made the most of the opportunity, scoring McLaren’s first points of the season with a 10th-place finish.
Speaking after taking part in an in-season test at Silverstone, Vandoorne, the 2015 GP2 champion, admitted that he is only thinking of a spot on the 2017 grid.
“I’ve been pushing for this for a long time and hopefully things work out for next year,” Vandoorne told Sky Sports.
“I’ve done all the preparation I could do…I’ve even done a first Grand Prix now so, yes, 2017 I have to be on the grid.
“I feel very positive about next year, I feel confident I will be in a car so hopefully a decision comes sooner rather than later.”
He added: “I would love to race for this team (McLaren), but…if for some reasons, which I don’t know, it doesn’t become possible then I’m positive that there are other options available.”
Ferrari’s decision to retain Kimi Raikkonen for 2017 means that there is less likely to be significant movement in the driver market ahead of the new season, with Felipe Massa’s spot at Williams one of the few among the front runners that could be up for grabs. The line-ups for the teams further down the grid are considerably more uncertain.