Vandoorne 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 should an opportunity arise, and his presence will keep the pressure on both Magnussen and his veteran teammate Jenson Button.
“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 Centre 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 MP4-29.
“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.