Vandoorne or King to Manor? (Update)

UPDATE

Stoffel Vandoorne
Stoffel Vandoorne

(GMM) McLaren has played down rumors Stoffel Vandoorne could be on the verge of returning to the F1 grid.

The McLaren-backed junior made his grand prix debut this year when Fernando Alonso was injured, but he is now being linked with Rio Haryanto's place at Manor.

International publications De Telegraaf (The Netherlands) and Marca (Spain) said because Indonesian Haryanto's backing has run out, Vandoorne could make his bow for the backmarker team as soon as the Belgian grand prix in a month.

A McLaren spokesman told us: "As Ron (Dennis) has already said, Stoffel is very much part of the McLaren family.

"However, it doesn't surprise us that other formula one teams are interested in him, because he's obviously very talented and very capable. But with regard to the rumor to which you allude, it's just a rumor, nothing more," he added.

Another driver being linked with Haryanto's place is 22-year-old British GP2 driver Jordan King.

King's father, former Sainsbury's chief Justin King, is already involved with Manor and the Sun newspaper reports that Jordan may already have a contract in place with the team.

"At the moment, Manor would be my preferred choice of destination," he admitted.

"I have been out in their car twice this year and once last year and that is the relationship I am building on," said King.

07/24/16 McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that there are no plans to move reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne into a race seat with Manor, but refused to rule out the possibility of it happening in the future.

Vandoorne has been linked with a move to Manor who has a technical partnership with McLaren, to replace Rio Haryanto whose future is up in the air with it being widely believed that his initial contract with the team was only for 11 races.

"No," said Boullier when asked by Sky Sports' Ted Kravtiz about the possibility of Vandoorne being placed in a Manor seat.

"As part of the McLaren Honda family, if Manor want to race him we could consider him to race him this year, but nothing [has been discussed] so far."

A move to Manor for Vandoorne would see him lining up alongside Pascal Wehrlein, setting up the tantalizing prospect of having both McLaren and Mercedes' top junior drivers going head-to-head.

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