Stoffel Vandoorne will predictably enjoy a second season of Formula 1 racing with McLaren in 2018, the Woking-based outfit has announced
Despite a difficult maiden season, and one-year stints involving some of his predecessors, the 25-year-old's short term future with McLaren was never really in doubt.
"When we announced at the end of 2016 that Stoffel would be a McLaren Honda race driver for 2017, we indicated that our plan was that he’d race for us for a number of years," says Eric Boullier.
"That plan hasn’t changed, and I’m very happy therefore to be able to confirm that he’ll continue to race for us next season.
"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.
"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."
The GP2 2015 champion admitted that while expected, his confirmation lifts the last ounce of uncertainty which existed.
"I’m delighted that the team has now formally announced that I will continue to race for them next year, because I’ll be able to approach the second half of my rookie season with total focus on the job in hand: namely getting the very most I can out of my car, my engineers, and everything and everyone around me," says the Belgian.
"I’ve already learned such a huge amount in the first half of my first season in Formula 1 - from my engineers, from my mechanics, from Eric [Boullier], from Zak [Brown] and from Jonathan [Neale], and also from Fernando [Alonso], who is a brilliant driver and also an excellent team-mate.
"Last but not least, I want to say thank you to McLaren’s partners and fans for their loyalty and enthusiasm – they are the best in the business – and also to McLaren’s Executive Committee Principals, [Shaikh] Mohammed and Mansour [Ojjeh], who continue to put their faith in me."