Vandoorne: No 2017 guarantee


As he prepares for a possible Super Formula challenge along with his F1 test driver duties, Stoffel Vandoorne says he has not been guaranteed a 2017 McLaren F1 seat.

The reigning GP2 Series Champion had an epic year in 2015, taking seven race wins and 16 podiums in total on his way to the title.

But with Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso both staying put at McLaren for a second successive season, Vandoorne's path to Formula 1 was blocked for this year.

He will remains with McLaren as their official reserve driver for this year's championship and the 23-year-old is hoping to take a step up in 2017 but admits he has been given no guarantees by the team.

"Nothing has been promised but I'm working my way towards F1, that's definitely where I want to be," Vandoorne said.

"I already wanted to be there this year, and I feel 100 percent ready to be there. Unfortunately there were no places available this season, so I have to works towards 2017.

"I feel I am in the right place and McLaren trust in my ability. There are no guarantees for 2017 but it is a good place for me to be here and to race for the team.

"I've been with the team for a couple of years now and we have had a lot of success together. Hopefully we can build on that success in the future and hopefully I can get a race drive here."

In the meantime he is looking to Super Formula for a 2016 drive.

The Belgian driver tested for the Honda-power Team Dandelion Racing team last year and is closing in on a deal that he hopes will keep him race sharp.

"We are still working on it at the moment. I am confident that the deal will happen soon," he said.

"If everything does go in that direction then it will be a very busy year for me being McLaren reserve driver, going to all the grand prix, spending a lot of time in the simulator, being at the factory with the engineers. It will be very good preparations for 2017.

"It is important to race something at least as it keeps you race sharp and fit. It gives you something to work for during the year, even if Super Formula does not have many races per year.

"The cars are quick, I tested one of them at the end of November at Suzuka and they have great cornering speed which is preparation for 2017."