Stoffel Vandoorne has been named as McLaren’s reserve driver, and the Belgian will also run a season of GP2 with ART.
Vandoorne is McLaren’s second talented young protege, and lost out to colleague Kevin Magnussen in the fight for the Renault 3.5 title last year. He’s clearly being lined up for a promotion to a race seat if an opportunity arises.
“I’ve been a member of the McLaren Young Driver Program for almost a year now, and I’ve learned an enormous amount in that time,” said Vandoorne. “I visit the McLaren Technology Center 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 One engineers develop the new-for-2014 MP4-29 Formula One car.
“Equally, I’ve worked very hard on my physical and mental fitness over the past year, and the McLaren Young Driver Program has been absolutely fantastic in that respect. The guys at Woking really know how to prepare a driver for Formula One, and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. I still do.”
Sporting director Sam Michael 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 Program.
“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.”