Zak Brown says everything is being done within the McLaren F1 Team to avoid a repetition of what happened to Stoffel Vandoorne during his time with the team, with the Belgian having lost his drive at the end of two very difficult and testing campaigns with the Woking-based outfit.
Vandoorne was the only driver throughout 2018 not to out-qualify his team-mate, with Fernando Alonso having a perfect record against the Belgian, with the Spaniard also outscoring him by fifty points to twelve.
Vandoorne came into the sport with a tremendous record in junior formulae but left under a cloud after struggling to perform to the levels expected, with McLaren opting to replace him with Lando Norris for the 2019 season alongside Carlos Sainz Jr., who has come in to take over from Alonso.
Brown says that sporting director Gil de Ferran will be working hard with both Norris and Sainz to ensure they both feel an integral part of the McLaren team this season so to avoid the same situation that befell Vandoorne, who has found a new home in FIA Formula E and as a development driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
“Someone like Stoffel is an extremely good race car driver, and for whatever reason it didn’t work out,” Brown is quoted as saying by Crash.net. “We take some responsibility for that and want to understand why this driver had such a great pedigree but it didn’t work out, and we don’t want to replicate that where we may have got that wrong or contributed to that lack of success.
“One of the things that we recognised is I think we need some additional racers in the McLaren family.
“When you look at Gil’s pedigree, first and foremost as a driver, then as an IndyCar team owner, then as a sportscar owner, he’s got a well-rounded understanding having won championships with Roger Penske of what success looks like from many different aspects of the garage, including sitting in the cockpit.
“One of Gil’s primary roles is to make sure that everyone gels, including the driver. So he’ll be spending time both with Lando and Carlos making sure that we give them the bet environment to work in.”