McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that Stoffel Vandoorne's tough start to the season can be explained by his current driving style in Formula 1.
Vandoorne won multiple titles before becoming Jenson Button's replacement at McLaren-Honda, but failed to reach Q2 in the first five qualifying sessions of the season and crashed out in Q3 at the latest race in Monaco.
The Belgian has also been overshadowed by Fernando Alonso, who has continued to squeeze every last drop out of the stricken MCL32 despite the fact that he too has yet to secure his first point of the season.
But Boullier believes Vandoorne is still adapting after being told to drive a certain way throughout his rise up the ranks.
“When you come from these kinds of [junior] categories, it’s the same car for everybody – so you have a driving style you have developed around this car to drive them,” said Boullier.
“Formula 1 is different – every weekend we bring new front wing, new bodywork, new rear wing, new floor, so the car balance is very different.
“When you have been told during your young career to drive the car one way, in Formula 1 you have to be a bit more flexible and this is only experience.
“He is learning. The team has to move chassis-wise, set-up wise to go to his natural driving style – because every driver has a natural style – and at the same time he is moving out of that, trying to drive differently.”