Current GP2 Series driver and 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series runner-up Stoffel Vandoorne had his first taste of F1 machinery when he participated in the second day of the in-season test in Spain. The McLaren reserve driver ran 136 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, and thus completed the distance required to obtain an F1 Superlicence.
With Pirelli in charge of the test with the team for the day, McLaren allowed Vandoorne some seat time, having originally scheduled the Belgian a day in the car in Bahrain last month before changing the plans at the last minute to allow race drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen some extra testing time.
On a trouble-free day, he ran the whole test on the Pirelli Hard tyre, before setting a late time on the Medium compound to set the ninth best time of the day. His focus now turns back to his GP2 campaign with ART Grand Prix, which resumes next week in Monaco.
“This has been a fantastic day for me: my first experience in a Formula 1 car, and a really great opportunity to get plenty of laps under my belt,” said Vandoorne afterwards. “I want to say a big thank you to the team – everyone has been incredibly helpful and positive. It’s also great to have been able to contribute to the test programme: 136 laps today was a fantastic achievement, and it’s great that it’s earned me the right to be granted a Formula 1 Superlicence.
“Now my focus turns towards my next event – the GP2 races in Monte-Carlo next Friday and Saturday. I’m looking forward to bouncing back from a tricky weekend in Barcelona, and would love to get some great results in Monaco.”