McLaren’s incoming chief executive says Stoffel Vandoorne is ready for F1.
Early this year, the British team signed up Volkswagen’s world rallying chief Jost Capito to be its new CEO.
The German is now ready to start work on 1 September, but says he is not yet involved in any decision-making at McLaren.
“No, until 31 August, I am still with Volkswagen,” he told Germany’s Auto Bild.
“That would make no sense. You have to do these jobs completely, otherwise you risk making the wrong decisions,” Capito, who earlier in his career worked with Sauber, added.
One of the key decisions for 2017 is the second race cockpit alongside Fernando Alonso, and Capito admitted that he will be involved in making that call.
It is rumoured McLaren will replace Jenson Button with Belgian youngster Stoffel Vandoorne, so when asked if the 24-year-old would make a good teammate for Alonso, he answered: “I think Stoffel is ready for formula one.
“He already showed that in Bahrain. I was in Bahrain myself and saw it myself that he did a professional job as though he had been doing it all his life. So he is definitely ready for formula one,” Capito added.
Another challenge for Capito will be convincing Alonso to extend his deal beyond 2017, with the Spaniard not having won a title in a decade and declaring that he is no longer enjoying F1 as much as in the past.
Capito answered: “It makes no sense to work with a driver who is not enjoying. But I believe that the new cars will be more fun again.
“I am also convinced that next year’s McLaren will not be a bad car. At the moment I don’t know the details, but even from the outside you can see that the team has made so much progress.”
He said even Honda has stepped up its game significantly, after the awful 2015.
“Honda is still in the learning phase,” said Capito, “and also because of the regulations, it is difficult to make big steps during the season.
“But I think the leadership at Honda now understands motor racing and the needs of the team. The cooperation certainly seems to be going very well.”