Press Release: McLaren Young Driver Stoffel Vandoorne has been officially confirmed as our official Reserve Driver for 2014, and will be combining his duties as a Formula 1 tester with a full competitive season in GP2.
The twin moves take the 21-year-old Belgian a step closer to his ambition of becoming a Formula 1 driver. It’s an aim that’s already been considerably strengthened following last year’s impressive rookie season in the World Series by Renault 3.5 series, in which he was narrowly beaten to the title by no less than Kevin Magnussen – McLaren’s newest Formula 1 driver.
“I’m thrilled and honoured to have been selected by McLaren Mercedes to be the team’s Formula 1 reserve driver for 2014,” said Stoffel. “Equally, I’m really excited to have been selected to race for the ART GP2 team for 2014.
“I’ve been a member of the McLaren Young Driver Programme for almost a year now, and I’ve learned an enormous amount in that time. I visit the McLaren Technology Centre [MTC] at least once a week, sometimes more often than that, and I’ve done a lot of work in the MTC simulator to assist McLaren’s Formula 1 engineers develop the new-for-2014 MP4-29 Formula 1 car.
“Equally, I’ve worked very hard on my physical and mental fitness over the past year, and the McLaren Young Driver Programme has been absolutely fantastic in that respect. The guys at Woking really know how to prepare a driver for Formula 1, and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. I still do.”
Stoffel’s credentials have been underlined by McLaren sporting director Sam Michael, who said: “Stoffel is a truly excellent young driver – fast, combative, consistent, intelligent and ambitious – and he’s already made an excellent impression on all at McLaren during the year he’s spent as a member of the McLaren Young Driver Programme.
“His technical input is first-class, he’s excellent in our simulator, and he isn’t afraid of hard work. He has a collaborative and engaging manner, and he’s therefore as popular at McLaren as he is helpful.”
Stoffel concluded: “I plan to take my responsibilities as McLaren Mercedes’ official Formula 1 Reserve Driver very seriously indeed, since I very much enjoy immersing myself in the technical aspects of Formula 1 grand prix weekends. I’ll do whatever I can to help the team’s two Formula 1 race drivers, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, both of whom are great guys and superb drivers, to achieve as much as they possibly can this season.”