McLaren-Honda‘s Stoffel Vandoorne will be driving in his first home Grand Prix this weekend as a Formula 1 driver at Spa Francorchamps.
Vandoorne has competed at Spa in lower formulas but has dreamt about competing at what is one of the most instantly recognisable circuits on the calendar since he was young.
“I’ve been looking forward to driving in my first Belgian Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver for so long,” he commented.
“It’s exciting for any driver at their home grand prix because it’s always a special weekend. It’ll be great to have the backing of my home crowd, and there’ll be a lot of fans out there, as well as family and friends coming to support.”
Spa signifies the start of the second half of the season after the summer break, and similarly to the other drivers, Vandoorne had a short holiday before returning to training.
“It’s been good to have a bit of a break, reflect on what’s happened in the last few months, analyse the good things and the bad things, train hard and then come back even stronger in Spa for the second half of the season.”
While it is true that Vandoorne has struggled through a mixture of reliability issues and inexperience at times through the first half of the season, the last few races showed his potential.
“The start of the season has definitely been challenging – not only from my side but for the team as a whole. We’ve suffered a few problems which have hampered our running, and I think maybe from my side it took a bit more time to really understand what I needed from the car because of those problems.”
“However, more recently we’ve been seeing the results of a lot of hard work I’ve been putting in with the engineers and with the team back at the factory. Everything we’ve been working on has been a good step, and from that we’ve seen positive progress. The margin for improvement is still significant and there are more good things to come, so I’m hopeful the next few races will be promising for us.“