Stoffel Vandoorne believes it is an honour for him to be part of the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team, and says any young driver would love to be a part of one of the legendary teams of the sport if asked.
The Belgian will make his full-time Formula 1 debut in 2017 alongside Fernando Alonso after making a one-off appearance last year at the Bahrain Grand Prix, scoring a point for tenth place, and he is excited about his future at the Woking-based team.
“For me it is still a very exciting time to join McLaren-Honda, even though the results are maybe not where we want them to be,” said Vandoorne to Formula1.com. “I think every young driver would say ‘yes’ in an instant if McLaren-Honda phone you up and ask you to drive one of their cars.
“I am very proud to be part of this team and I am looking forward to having a great future together.”
Heading into the Australian Grand Prix, Vandoorne admits McLaren are somewhat on the back foot after a disastrous pre-season testing programme at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with numerous engine and electrical issues blighting their running, with neither himself or team-mate Alonso managing to get a full race simulation run in.
Despite this, the Belgian remains positive that the team can turn around their fortunes, and he will be racing hard to maximise the best possible result for McLaren this weekend at Albert Park.
“Obviously Barcelona was not an ideal start for us, and that would be very difficult to hide,” said Vandoorne. “Everyone was expecting a bit more, which is normal from my point of view, especially if you look at the past two years.
“McLaren-Honda had a difficult start and was progressing a lot. So now everybody expected another step forward. It was not ideal, but this is the situation that we are in at the moment and we are aware of it. Nevertheless, we are going racing here in Melbourne and we have to stick together as a team and work as hard as possible to improve the situation.
“There is not a lot more that I can do at this stage, other than keep believing, which I do. McLaren-Honda is still one of the biggest teams in Formula One. We will get back to the front at one stage.
“The only question now is when will that happen? Of course, I hope sooner rather than later. So the conclusion is that we have to go with what we have and make the best out of it.”