Vandoorne honoured to be given McLaren race set promotion

Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne & Jenson Button - Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Stoffel Vandoorne has thanked McLaren-Honda and chairman Ron Dennis for giving him the opportunity to race for the team in 2017, where he will replace Jenson Button.

The Belgian has been reserve driver for the Woking-based team in 2016, and will partner Fernando Alonso next season, with Vandoorne feeling it is a honour to make the full-time step up onto the Formula 1 grid next season after a taster in Bahrain when he stepped in for Alonso and scored a point.

“First of all, I want to express my gratitude to everyone at McLaren-Honda, and especially Ron, for showing faith in me,” said Vandoorne.

“I’ve signed loads of autographs in my career, but, when I inked my signature on my McLaren-Honda contract today, it’s safe to say I had an exceptionally special feeling as I picked up my pen to do so.

“It’s an enormous honour to become a McLaren-Honda race driver, and I promise to work as hard as any Formula 1 driver ever has before.”

Vandoorne believes he will do his utmost to continue the upward swing shown by McLaren this season, and like his new team-mate believes they can move themselves to the front of the field.

“I already know the team extremely well – they’re a fantastic group of extremely clever people – and I’ve already raced the car once and tested it often,” said Vandoorne.

“I have total confidence in the potential of the McLaren-Honda project, and I firmly believe that, racing alongside a brilliant and experienced driver, I’ll be able to make a strong contribution to the team’s future World Championship successes. 

“I’m not saying when that’ll happen, but I’m confident that that’s what the McLaren-Honda team will achieve, and I’m determined to do my bit. 

“There are a lot of other people whom I’d like to take this opportunity to thank – too many to list in fact. So all I can say is: you know who you are, and thank you.”