LONDON: Rookie Stoffel Vandoorne will continue to drive for embattled former Formula One giants McLaren Honda next season, the team announced on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old – who has one point this season compared to team-mate Fernando Alonso’s 10 – said the news takes a weight off his mind.
Vandoorne got the drive this season after Britain’s former world champion Jenson Button announced his retirement last year – the Belgian had impressed by securing a point in finishing 10th at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix when Alonso was unfit to drive.
“I’m delighted that the team has now formally announced that I will continue to race for them next year,” said Vandoorne, whose sole point this term came at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.
“I’ll be able to approach the second half of my rookie season with total focus on the job in hand.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren Honda’s racing director, said Vandoorne deserved a second season after the promise and progress he’d shown.
“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,” Boullier said in a statement.
“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.”