Stoffel Vandoorne is preparing himself for his second full-season of Formula 1, but admits the launch of the new car, this season the MCL33, is amongst the most tense moments of the whole season.
The Belgian, who joined his McLaren F1 Team team-mate Fernando Alonso at the unveiling of the 2018 car in Spain on Friday, says the Renault-powered MCL33 is important for the whole team as they look to put the disappointment of the past three seasons with Honda behind them.
Vandoorne hopes to have a strong start to the year, and after only three top-ten finishes in 2017, is looking to have confidence that McLaren can be a force again this season right from the first race of the season in Australia next month.
“The arrival of a new car is always one of the most tense and exciting moments of the season,” said Vandoorne. “For everyone at McLaren, this is an important car; we all know exactly how much rests on it being successful, and we’re all extremely keen to see just how well it performs when we start testing it next week.
“From my perspective, I really hope we can start the season with a stable platform that we’re able to develop quickly and easily. It would be great to have a smooth few weeks of winter testing, and to go to Australia feeling confident about the year ahead.”
Vandoorne feels as prepared as he can be for the new season, and is confident that the MCL33 can provide the results the team deserve, and he cannot wait for his first opportunity to drive the car during next week’s first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“I’ve been training hard all winter and feel as ready as I can be to get back into the cockpit,” said Vandoorne. “I’m fit and focused, but I’m also relaxed, because I think we’ve had a very productive winter and have designed a very capable new car.
“I can’t wait to put it to the test.”