Vandoorne feels no pressure from potential Button return

F1i 14:51 25/09/2016
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Stoffel Vandoorne says that he’s feeling no pressure from knowing Jenson Button is waiting in the wings for a possible return to racing in 2018.

The former world champion is taking a sabbatical next season allowing the much-fancied Vandoorne to finally get his shot at a full season in Formula One, but McLaren has left the door open to Button returning should either Vandoorne or Fernando Alonso not continue beyond 2017.

“I don’t see that situation as extra pressure,” Vandoorne told the official Formula One website this week.

“I have a long-term deal with McLaren,” he added. “In terms of next year, yes it is a special structure – but I think it is one of the best.

“Myself and Fernando are going to race, and then it is good to keep Jenson as well. He is the most experienced driver in F1 now and he will be involved with the team, be it in the simulator or coming to a few races.”

Vandoorne added that he didn’t see any prospect of Button being recalled early to jump in the car next year should things not go to plan.

“That’s not what I am thinking at the moment, no. And I am fully thinking about the opportunity that I get – there is no room for non-issues. I want to succeed and am very much looking forward to that.

“Hopefully we soon will be able to get back to the competitive level where McLaren used to be.”

Having made his one-off début in Formula One earlier this year in Bahrain when Alonso was ruled unfit to drive following a major accident in Australia, Vandoorne will be making his full-time start in the sport just as new 2017 technical regulations will shake things up and put everyone on a level playing field again, at least for the first few races.

“Regarding the regulation changes next year, this is a probably a nice opportunity to perform well for me, as I don’t come with the ‘baggage’ of the old F1 car experience,” Vandoorne agreed.

“When I think about it, yes, it could actually be a bit of an advantage for me to have a big reshuffle next year.

“But then F1 drivers are all so massively talented that any change will be immediately absorbed and implemented. The reality of F1 is that almost every race, cars are changing with updates – so drivers are used to that.

“Those who are right now in F1 are those who have shown that they can adapt very quickly – otherwise they wouldn’t be here.”

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