ART Grand Prix team principal Frederic Vasseur believes the entire GP2 ‘feeder series’ would be devalued if Stoffel Vandoorne fails to make the jump to Formula 1.
According to the Frenchman, who has nurtured talents such as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel, Vandoorne is the best driver in GP2 history when it comes down to the facts and it would therefore be “unacceptable” if he fails to find a seat.
“It is no secret that Stoffel is courted by F1 teams,” Vasseur is quoted by Motorsport. “From a mathematical point of view, he is the best driver in the history of GP2.
“The rules have changed, but if you compare his performance this year to previous years, he has clinched eight pole positions, which is – I think – more than Hamilton and Rosberg, and he has scored more race wins and points than any other competitor.
“We cannot accept that a guy who has won everything does not make it to F1, otherwise it is an absolute denial of the ladder system.”
However the Belgian is in a difficult position as he is currently contracted to McLaren, but the Woking team doesn’t look in a position to offer him a drive anytime soon.
Vasseur therefore expects the team to release him in the coming weeks to allow Vandoorne to looks elsewhere.
“He’s in a somewhat tricky situation as he’s got a contract with McLaren, so he’s not allowed to talk with every other team,” he said.
“McLaren must choose its two drivers this week. If they don’t choose Stoffel, I think they will free him from his contract.”
He added: “I pray Vandoorne gets given a shot next year because he’s been super good. If not, then it’s complete bullshit.”
However Vasseur could offer Vandoorne a lifeline as the ART GP2 boss is a leading candidate to take over the team principal role at the soon-to-be Renault F1 Team.
Lotus, as it’s currently named, has only secured the services of Pastor Maldonado, whilst the second seat remains open.