‘It was probably the WORST time to be there’: Stoffel Vandoorne opens up on his tough stint with McLaren in F1, why Mercedes can NEVER be ruled out in the constructors title race, his ‘painful’ crossover to Formula E… and where he sees his future

When Stoffel Vandoorne stepped into the Formula One cockpit for the first time, there were high hopes the talented Belgian driver could become a future world champion. Vandoorne held a mightiliy impressive CV heading into his F1 career, having already won the F4 Eurocup, Formula Renault Eurocup and GP2 series. The car wasn’t living up to the required standards, and as a result unreliability in the engine plagued Vandoorne’s and McLaren’s chances. And after just two full seasons in F1, McLaren decided to part ways with Vandoorne having finished a lowly 16th both times in the drivers’ championship. Vandoorne has been racing in FE for three seasons now, currently representing Mercedes-EQ, while he is also on stand-by as a reserve driver for the German constructor’s F1 team. I know there is a lot of effort going into this, and I think there will be races where they will still be the team to beat. The transition from F1 to FE certainly isn’t the easiest, and Vandoorne was quick to echo that sentiment. Vandoorne has now established himself within FE, but it wasn’t the most straight-forward journey into the sport for him, starting out at the same time as the team he drove for in his debut season – HWA Racelab before their rebranding to Mercedes-EQ.

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