Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s far from an ideal situation”


Stoffel Vandoorne completed 48 laps on Thursday but stopped twice on track - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Stoffel Vandoorne endured more frustration in his final day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday, with the Belgian stopping on track twice, although he did manage to set the fastest time so far for the MCL32.

Electrical problems restricted the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver to 32 laps during the morning session, and only returned to the track with around two hours of the afternoon session remaining, although he could only manage an additional 16 laps.

Vandoorne admits that it has not been the best testing programme for the team, and they have not managed half as much as they would have wanted to, but he at least feels comfortable behind the wheel, even if the speed and reliability isn’t there.

“It’s not been the best test for us in terms of mileage over the four days I’ve had in the car, but it’s all part of the learning,” said Vandoorne. “I feel positive and confident in the car – when I’m out on track I feel comfortable to push straight away and get the maximum out of it.

“We’ve had some problems and it’s far from an ideal situation, but we’re aware of it and we’re working very hard to make sure we make big improvements before we go to Melbourne.”

Vandoorne admits it is difficult to know exactly where McLaren sit in relation to everyone else due to the issues that have befell the team across the majority of the test days, but he feels ready to make his full-time debut in Australia in two weeks time.

“It’s difficult to know exactly where our pace is,” said Vandoorne. “There are a lot of things that we’re focusing on and a lot of procedures we’re going through, so we’re working hard to get on top of the issues and I hope we can make a step forward for Melbourne.

“I feel 100% ready; over the past couple of years I’ve had very good preparation with McLaren. Even though I haven’t had the mileage in the car that I would’ve liked, I’m still very excited.

“I’ll prepare very hard with the team over the next week, spend some more time in the simulator and go through the data we have brought back from the test, and hopefully we can go to Melbourne with some upgrades and some positive signs.”