Stoffel Vandoorne confident he has convinced McLaren for 2019 F1 seat
Stoffel Vandoorne believes he has sufficiently demonstrated to McLaren that he warrants another season in Formula 1 with the team in 2019.
Vandoorne was backed by McLaren through his junior career and stepped up to a full-time Formula 1 seat full-time in 2017, having made a one-off appearance the previous year.
Vandoorne’s rookie campaign coincided with the final tumultuous season of the McLaren-Honda partnership, but the Belgian has struggled compared to Fernando Alonso in 2018.
Vandoorne is the only driver yet to out-qualify his team-mate while he has amassed only eight points compared to the 40 gathered by Alonso.
“I think it’s the time of the year where everyone talks to everyone,” said Vandoorne when asked how confident he is of retaining his seat.
“Before the summer break is usually a moment everyone speaks about the driver market and yeah, that’s kind of normal.
“We’ve never really discussed that with the media so I’m not really going to go into that.”
When pressed further on whether he’d done enough to convince McLaren, Vandoorne replied: “I think so yeah, I’m pretty sure.”
Vandoorne emphasised that the setbacks he has encountered during his Formula 1 career has enhanced his ability, and asserted that he is feeling the benefits of a second season.
“For sure it’s not been a year and a half I was hoping to have in Formula 1,” he said.
“Ultimately we’ve been struggling a lot in terms of the results, we’ve had both years a car that struggled to fight for points let’s say.
“It’s not always easy to show the right things in those circumstances. But that’s the situation we’re in.
“I feel I’ve taken a lot of positive out of this as well, in going through difficult times, how to deal with certain issues, is something I didn’t really have when I was in junior series.
“So the approach has been quite different and it made me definitely a stronger driver.
“Just being in your second season is very different to your first season.
“You feel much more comfortable in the way you prepare your weekends, the way you build up in the practice sessions to the race, you feel that a year of experience helps a lot.”