The Belgian speedy Stoffel Vandoorne joins McLaren as a reserve driver role for this season even as he will compete in the GP2 feeder series.
Vandoorne won the Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2012 and was runner-up to Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen, who will race for McLaren this year, in the 2013 World Series by Renault 3.5 championship with four wins.
“I feel I’m making good progress towards my ultimate goal: Formula One,” said the Belgian, a member of McLaren’s young driver programme and tipped as a future F1 driver, in a statement.
“I’ll do whatever I can to help the team’s two Formula One race drivers…to achieve as much as they possibly can this season.”
McLaren sporting director Sam Michael said Vandoorne was a “truly excellent young driver” who had impressed the team already over the past year.
“His technical input is first class, he’s excellent in our simulator and he isn’t afraid of hard work,” he said.
“He’s also very quick indeed…so we expect him to do well in GP2 this season and let’s see what happens after that.”