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2018 F1

McLaren-Honda officially confirms Vandoorne will stay for 2018 F1

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McLaren-Honda F1 team has confirmed that Stoffel Vandoorne will continue with the Woking based F1 squad for the 2018 season.

2015 GP2 champion Vandoorne has been at McLaren since he joined the team’s young driver programme in 2013. The 25-year-old made his grand prix debut with the team in 2016, replacing Fernando Alonso for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Belgian had a tough start to his rookie full-season as team-mate to double world champion Fernando Alonso, but recently his form has improved with upgraded trouble-free Honda power.

“I’m delighted that the team has now formally announced that I will continue to race for them next year, because I’ll be able to approach the second half of my rookie season with total focus on the job in hand: namely getting the very most I can out of my car, my engineers, and everything and everyone around me,” Vandoorne said.

“I’ve already learned such a huge amount in the first half of my first season in Formula 1 – from my engineers, from my mechanics, from Eric [Boullier], from Zak [Brown] and from Jonathan [Neale], and also from Fernando [Alonso], who is a brilliant driver and also an excellent team-mate.

“Last but not least, I want to say thank you to McLaren’s partners and fans for their loyalty and enthusiasm – they are the best in the business – and also to McLaren’s Executive Committee Principals, [Shaikh] Mohammed and Mansour [Ojjeh], who continue to put their faith in me.”

Racing director Eric Boullier says about the deal: “When we announced at the end of 2016 that Stoffel would be a McLaren Honda race driver for 2017, we indicated that our plan was that he’d race for us for a number of years.

“That plan hasn’t changed, and I’m very happy therefore to be able to confirm that he’ll continue to race for us next season.

“Like all rookies, he’s had to learn a lot in the first half of his first Formula 1 season, but we have great confidence in him, and he’s getting better and better all the time. His team-mate is a tough opponent – that’s an understatement in fact, because he’s arguably the best driver in the sport today – but Stoffel’s robust talent and fierce ambition make us sure that he’ll achieve great successes with us in the future.”

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