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2018 F1

Sauber F1 closes 2019 door to Vandoorne

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McLaren recently confirms Lando Norris will partner Spaniard Carlos Sainz as part of a multi-year agreement. Another door appears to have closed to Stoffel Vandoorne, who step-out from McLaren at the end this season.

It seems increasingly likely that the Belgian will be ousted by McLaren — perhaps even as soon as after Sunday’s Italian grand prix at Monza.

He had a horror weekend at Monza and afterwards blamed the McLaren car.

When asked if it is frustrating that his car prevents him from demonstrating his potential, Vandoorne said at Monza: “I think everyone knows that’s part of formula one.

“I think I proved in the past that I’m able to win races and championships,” Vandoorne told RTBF. “I haven’t forgotten how to drive.

“Everyone knows that it’s a difficult situation at the moment but we can only improve.”

But he said that improvement will not come yet.

“We know it will not be very different here than it was at Spa. Monza is actually probably the worst circuit for us.”

There were rumours Sauber could be a 2019 lifeline for Vandoorne, but one cockpit is expected to be taken Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi.

And team boss Frederic Vasseur is quoted by La Derniere Heure: “Marcus Ericsson is doing a good job and if he continues like that, I don’t see why we would not keep him.”

As for Vandoorne, “Stoffel is not part of our plans for 2019,” Vasseur said.

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