McLaren Protege Stoffel Vandoorne must feel frustrated sitting on the sidelines, especially when he see’s a McLaren finish outside the points. He must be thinking that he could do better, especially given his debut points finish earlier this year in Bahrain. The young Belgian’s wait however, looks to finally be over.
The promising driver has a potential chance to showcase his abilities on the grid in 2016 from the Belgian Grand Prix, which would provide a fitting homecoming for the youngster.
The seat in question is Rio Haryanto’s at Manor. The Indonesian driver’s deal was always going to be up for review after 10 races and whilst he hasn’t been notably poor in his performances against Pascal Wehrlein, he hasn’t been notably good either. Wehrlein is another young driver with ambitions to rise up the order, so Vandoorne would have a very talented and competitive team-mate to race against.
The move would provide McLaren with solid data to interpret for their 2017 plans too. If Button is to go to Williams for the final chapter of his career, then the Woking-based squad will need a replacement with at least a chunk of F1 experience, so a half-season at Manor seems like the best option for Vandoorne.
Red Bull did a similar thing in 2011 with a promising young Aussie called Daniel Ricciardo. He was given a drive at back-markers Hispania Race Team (HRT). Whilst the seat didn’t provide any real opportunity to even fight the midfield, it gave Red Bull enough comparative data to promote the honey-badger to Toro Rosso for the following season. We all know what he’s capable of now!
So Vandoorne’s best option is to jump in the Manor and let his race-craft quell the speculation. Manor will only benefit too. Having Vandoorne and Wehrlein in the same team will definitely heat up the competition and who knows? Vandoorne could be the one to score a few more points for the small team and keep the newly funded Sauber at the bottom.