It has been announced today that Stoffel Vandoorne will leave the McLaren F1 team at the end of the season. He will be replaced by McLaren Young Driver and curent F2 championship contender Lando Norris.
Lando, who has won at least one series a year since 2015, won the opening round of the F2 season, however has yet to record another win since this season. Despite this he is championship leader George Russell’s closest competitor for the title just 22 points off his countryman.
Norris had the oppurtunity to show his speed in the practice one sessions in Belgium and Italy, finishing just under a tenth ahead of Vandoorne in Belgium, and coming last in Italy, however the session was heavily rain affected.
Vandoorne has struggled for the last two years at McLaren against Fernando Alonso and remains the only driver not to beat his teammate once in qualifying in 2018 and has only scored 8 of the 52 the team currently has in the championship, the last time in the points coming in Azerbaijan.
CEO of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown said, “We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason.”
“We already know he’s fast, he learns quickly, and has a mature head on his young shoulders. We see much potential for our future together. The investment we have made in his budding career with simulator development and seat-time in the car has been well-deserved, as he has continued to prove his abilities both behind the wheel and in his work with the engineering team.”
“We’re immensely thankful for Stoffel’s dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren. He’s a talented racing driver with an incredible list of accolades in his junior career. We’re proud to have played a part in his break into Formula 1, from his role as Test Driver to his fantastic points-scoring debut in Bahrain in 2016.”
“It’s clear we haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, but throughout our relationship he’s proved to be a fantastic team player. His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we’ve really enjoyed working with him. Of course, we would have loved to achieve more success during our time together, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he will always be a part of the McLaren family of grand prix drivers.”
It’s another exciting twist in the 2019 driver market and there’s plenty more seats up for grabs.