Vandoorne disappointed to sit out Bahrain GP


Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

It was an extremely frustrating Bahrain Grand Prix weekend for McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who encountered technical problems with the MCL32 on his way to the grid, which saw him unable to start the race.

The cause was confirmed as a water-pressure issue, but despite the best efforts of the engineers, the problem could not be fixed in time for the Belgian to line up on the grid and contest a race where he made his F1 debut in 2016, brilliantly scoring McLaren their first point of that year.

“It’s a real shame that we weren’t even able to start the race today. The team discovered a water-pressure issue on the way to the grid. It’s disappointing, obviously, that we come all the way here and can’t even start the race. 

“It’s frustrating when you do all the preparation work, put in so much effort, we drivers train a lot to keep fit to be able to go racing, and then not being able to start is a shame.”

And it was not just the race that threw up hardship for the Belgian, who also encountered power unit issues in both Friday practice sessions, meaning Vandoorne has now already used three out of a maximum of four of each component allowed for the season, already this year.

“It’s been an extremely difficult weekend for me, having two failures on Friday in FP1 and FP2, and now in the race: it’s obviously very disappointing. But I’ll keep my head down, I’ll work hard with the team, and I’m sure there will be some improvements at some point.

“We knew from the beginning of the season that the situation we were in was going to be difficult. I have an extremely good relationship with the team, I believe that we’ll get on top of these issues, and I’m confident that I can do a good job when everything comes together.

“When they will be, it’s difficult to say, but I’m confident that they’ll come.”

Despite all the setbacks Vandoorne has experienced so far during his maiden full season in F1, the Belgian is confident the Woking based team will turn things around, and be back fighting for some points at least, in the near future.

“We’ve lost quite a bit of mileage so it’s definitely not an ideal situation, and we need to make a good step forward soon. Hopefully we can show that at some point in the next few races.”