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Vandoorne to leave McLaren at end of season

NEWS STORY
03/09/2018

McLaren has revealed that Stoffel Vandoorne will leave the team after the end of the 2018 season..

Vandoorne joined the McLaren Young Driver Programme in 2013, became test driver in 2014 and won the GP2 Championship in 2015 while part of the McLaren family.

In 2016, he became reserve driver, where he deputised for Fernando Alonso at the Bahrain Grand Prix, impressively scoring a point on his debut. He was promoted to race driver to partner Fernando from the start of the 2017 season, and has contested 34 grands prix with the team to date.

"We're immensely thankful for Stoffel's dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren," said Zak Brown. "He's a talented racing driver with an incredible list of accolades in his junior career. We're proud to have played a part in his break into Formula 1, from his role as test driver to his fantastic points-scoring debut in Bahrain in 2016.

"It's clear we haven't provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, but throughout our relationship he's proved to be a fantastic team player. His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we've really enjoyed working with him. Of course, we would have loved to achieve more success during our time together, but that doesn't detract from the fact that he will always be a part of the McLaren family of grand prix drivers.

"For now, we look to the future and to the remaining grands prix in 2018, where I know both Stoffel and Fernando will be pushing hard to fight for as many points as possible before we close the curtain on this season.

"We wish Stoffel all the best in whatever direction he chooses to take next in his career, and we'll be supporting him all the way. We will announce our full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course."

"I'm very grateful to McLaren for investing their faith in me over the past five years," added Vandoorne. "I joined McLaren as a young driver and have since seen my career progress within the team from Test and Development Driver to Reserve Driver and then to full-time race driver.
"While we haven't achieved the success we'd all hoped for, I've really enjoyed the past two seasons racing for McLaren and I have a great relationship with everyone in the team.

"My time at McLaren has been a great chapter in my career and I'm thankful for the opportunity the team, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh have given me to gain valuable Formula 1 experience and develop as a driver. I intend to give it my all for the remaining seven races of this season, and will announce my plans for next season in due course."

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1. Posted by VC10-1103, 03/09/2018 21:56

"Bill Hopgood, it's not a new story. Remember Lotus, Tyrrell, Brabham & Williams to name four top teams"

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2. Posted by Yeyox02, 03/09/2018 18:42

"If I were Vandoorne, I would leave McLaren right now, without delay."

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3. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 03/09/2018 18:36

"A shame things have not worked out for Vandoorne, or McLaren. It all looked so good at the beginning.
Another team has a great chance to pick up Vandoorne on the cheap, rebuild him (they have the technology...) and also get good results.
Maybe Red Bull will take a punt and put him next to Hartley at Toro Rosso?
Just thinking about McLaren and their divers, things started to go off the rails when Hamilton left to go to Merc, Perez was hired with great expectations and keeping him away from Ferrari, then let go when Magnussan was bought in because another team wouldn't take him, who was subsequently let go to bring in Alonso to partner with Button and Honda to Make McLaren Great Again then Button was off to bring in Vandoorne. Think back to the Mika and David days of something like nine years of continuity and also success to put all those changes into context.
Sooner or later the driver agents are going to wake up that McLaren isn't what it was by far and drivers will not want to go there. What a sad state of play for what has been a great team. Or the agents are more focused on taking a percentage of what the driver gets paid...
All the best to Vandoorne in whatever he ends up doing in F1 or beyond."

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4. Posted by nonickname, 03/09/2018 11:12

"I am soooo glad for him. Please get out as soon as possible,before year end if you can and salvage your career.If Norris had any forward planning he would leave before he goes the same way."

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