Stoffel Vandoorne has stressed the importance of “staying out of trouble” throughout the Monaco Grand Prix if the McLaren F1 Team want to boost their chances of a first top five finish in the Constructors’ Championship in four years.
Vandoorne succumbed to mechanical failure at the Spanish Grand Prix just over a week ago and is eager to finish at a track he took victory at on his way to the GP2 Series crown in 2015. Previewing the prestigious race, the Belgian said that some of the charm of Monaco comes in its unpredictability.
“In Monaco, the whole race weekend is about staying out of trouble,” he said. “Even if you’re not directly involved in an incident, the Safety Car can cause chaos in itself on a slow-speed track such as this, which can create more drama.
“You never really know what to expect there but that’s what makes this track so special.”
Vandoorne played a partial role in last week’s in-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, performing testing duties for Pirelli Motorsport on the final day, as they look to develop their 2019 tyre model. However, when running solely for McLaren, he set the seventh fastest time on the opening day – improving late in the day.
Reflecting on the test, Vandoorne said that McLaren gathered “great information” that can be used to boost their Monaco performance; believing that the team will continue to make forward strides with the MCL33 after bringing their first major upgrade of 2018 for Spain, including an new, eye-catching nose structure.
“The test in Spain gave us some great information that we’re already putting to good use in Monaco,” Vandoorne added.
“Of course, it’s a very particular kind of track with different characteristics to others, but we can still adapt what we’ve learned and hopefully continue our step forward in performance.
“Our first DNF of the year in Spain wasn’t the result we hoped for, but we’ve investigated and hope we won’t see any repeats of the same issue.
“Monaco is typically a race of attrition, so while the aim is always to stay out of trouble as much as we can, it’s also to stay out of the barriers!”
The 26-year-old sits in fourteenth place in the World Championship after five races, 24 points adrift of team-mate Fernando Alonso. With McLaren junior Lando Norris continuing his meteoric rise and Michael Latifi – father of Norris’ FIA Formula 2 colleague Nicholas – bringing sizeable investment to the McLaren Group last week, the Belgian’s future beyond 2018 is currently unknown.