Formula 1

Vandoorne Targets ‘Proper Racing Programme’ for 2019 as F1 Exit Looms

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Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren F1 Team - Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Stoffel Vandoorne admits that unless something out of the ordinary happens, he will not be on the Formula 1 grid in 2019, but he remains keen on keeping a link to the sport whilst seeking a competitive ride in another series.

The Belgian will leave his current role with the McLaren F1 Team at the end of the current season in favour of Lando Norris, but he feels he deserves to be given a second opportunity to show just what he can do in Formula 1.

Vandoorne has been linked to rides both in the IndyCar Series and in FIA Formula E, and he says there is a clear idea in his mind to what he wants to do in 2019.

“Unless anything out-of-control happens again, then maybe, but I think chances of anything like that happening is almost zero percent,” said Vandoorne to Motorsport.com.  “So the priority for me is to have a proper racing programme, and obviously in some ways stay involved within Formula 1, to still be connected to this world.

“I still feel I deserve a second chance in the good and right environment.  The priority is first to find a race drive, which will be the main focus and target. And then we can see whatever [F1] options will open up next to that.

“In my head it’s pretty clear what I want to do. I’ve been in touch with a lot of teams, series for the future.”

Vandoorne admitted he did talk to both Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda about the possibility of a 2019 seat, but both were open with the Belgian and it was clear that neither were going to be an option for him.

“I’ve obviously been in touch with them, but they’ve been very honest with what their situation was,” said Vandoorne.  “I kind of knew immediately where I was standing.

“They haven’t kept me waiting, waiting, waiting and then realising it’s not an option. For me it was quite clear.”

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