Vandoorne claims he turned down Toro Rosso offer for 2014 seat

Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren‘s promising protege Stoffel Vandoorne has claimed that he was “in the running” to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso next year – until he said no to the Red Bull junior team.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has said he is trying to find seats in Formula 1 for the 21-year-old Belgian as well as his 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 rival Kevin Magnussen.

Vandoorne told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir: “Yes, Helmut Marko contacted me in September.”

He confirmed that the conversation was about 2014, because Australian Ricciardo was set to be announced as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull.

“As [Antonio Felix] da Costa was not [having] an exceptional season, they began to [doubt] him and contacted me,” said Vandoorne.

“I talked with my management, they are of course very close to McLaren, and they advised me to continue [with McLaren].

“The proposal for Red Bull [Toro Rosso] covered only one year, but here [with McLaren] we see it for the longer term,” he added.

Magnussen, poised to secure the Formula Renault 3.5 title ahead of Vandoorne this weekend in Spain, has been linked with Force India and Marussia for 2014.

Vandoorne admitted he is second in line behind the Dane.

“[McLaren] is looking out for me too,” he said, “but at this point, I would give myself a 20-25 per cent chance to go to Formula 1 in 2014.”

He said another season in Formula Renault 3.5 is the “most likely option” for next year, partly because McLaren does not rate the GP2 series.

Vandoorne also said that the McLaren reserve role is a possibility.

Germany’s Auto Bild is reporting that Portuguese da Costa will be announced next week as Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso successor for 2014. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • haha

    As a Belgian myself I think it was a good choice but hope he doesn’t go on the same road as Robin Frijns, namely the road of wasted true talent. But I understand their decisions because at Torro Rosso you have 2 options you get sacked because your performance is on low par (but never will they admit they build a dog of a car year after year despite their resources funded by Didi) or as lesser of the 2 TR drivers you get promoted to Red Bull to play second fiddle. You think I’m hallucinating, pure on performance JEV should have got the seed because he performed better (just look at Canada and Monaco) despite having half a year less experience than Daniel. Red Bull is about two men only Seb and Adrian who both are one of the best (if not the best) in their field. But Red Bull will pay the price when Vettel takes Newey with him to Ferrari in 2015/2016. Just hope Stefano stays put, because if they put hypocrit Horner or cheating Flavio in his funtcion it’s bye bye Tifosi for me! (after 27 years)

  • captain tortuga

    @haha : As a Dutch i also though immediately about Frijns..
    I think Stoffel made a mistake here. F1 = F1..

  • haha

    Tortuga you could be right but they prefer to take the non Red Bull path (with risk for being sacked without reason and never to come back) and I HOPE they made the right choice. The best drivers ever at Torro Rosso were Seb and Seb, but Bourdais was sacked which for me doesn’t say anything about his driving because he is a great driver (4x champ car + verry good at Le Mans where he doesn’t even find a decent seat anymore). F1 is going the same way as Soccer is going. WRC is already ruined because of it and MotoGP was “saved” on the brink of collapse, luckily young talent in MotoGP is still revered even without huge financial backing. In F1 the “Hulk case” proves what I’m saying.

  • haha

    And it is known that management looks after their own money first and do not care in what car their “client” has to drive, as long as the % is high enough. Some sponsers are even more concerned about the driver they back than the manager they have. One example: Lewis should have stuck with his dad instead off illuminati XXI management who just care about exposure and big bucks (cfr.Beckham to LA in MLS league)

  • Spanky

    Toro ruins more careers than it makes so I agree with any driver choosing a different path to F1. Besides, there’ll probably be a seat at RBR in 2015 once New Webber, Mark II gets the sack. lol.

  • The Pessimist

    Yea Mate! Good Job, better to be yourselves rather than being treated in the Red Bull kennel…U know what I’m saying?

  • Dr. Azlan

    You should grab whatever opportunity that comes your way to be on the F1 grid. He made a big mistake.

    He’s offered first class driver’s starting seat, not just a reserve seat.

    Maldonado brought 35mil pounds to Williams just to be in F1 and here this guy turned down an offer.

  • Frodo

    Look at all the talented drivers in F1 that don’t make it. F1 is turning into a amateur Sport because the driver must bring own sponsorship remind me of my amateur karting days.

  • Fletcher

    Then he better win the World Series 3..5 next year otherwise it’s curtains. In my opinion he should have taken the seat.

  • Jack

    I agree with Spanky on this one, apart from Vettel and Ricciardo Torro Rosso have given everyone else the flick eventually

  • Dr. Azlan

    Daniil Kvyat will replace Daniel Ricciardo…

    Well someone else just got the seat. How much money did he bring along?

  • Henry

    What an idiot…
    Shitty driver, shitty talk.