Ex-McLaren driver comments on Formula 1 comeback

Stoffel Vandoorne will be racing for Penske Racing in Formula E for the 2023 season, while keeping an eye on F1.

As the Formula E championship grows more competitive year after year, Stoffel Vandoorne will face the difficult task of retaining his title in the 2022-23 season.

The Belgian will be racing for Penske Racing next season, after three successful years with the Mercedes-EQ team, the most recent of which saw him win the championship title.

Vandoorne previously spent two seasons in a full-time race seat with McLaren, in 2017 and 2018, as the 30-year-old partnered two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

McLaren struggled in these two seasons and eventually chose to replace both drivers in ahead of the 2019 season, bringing in Carlos Sainz from Renault and Lando Norris from Formula 2.

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Vandoorne has stated that he is not giving up on his dream to return to F1, despite his success in Formula E, but admits that the decision to bring him back to the sport may be out of his hands.

“I had a good season so people started talking about me again,” said Vandoorne.

“I had my chance in Formula 1, but others in Formula E and other categories deserve the chance.

“But that’s not always for us to decide. It mainly comes down to the wishes of the teams.

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“I can only keep performing, which is my best tool.”

While signed to the Mercedes-EQ team, Vandoorne served as a reserve driver for Mercedes F1 team, alongside being shared with Racing Point in 2020 and McLaren from 2020 to 2022.

Having now broken his ties to Mercedes, the Belgian has signed with Aston Martin ahead of the 2023 season to share reserve and test drive duties with Felipe Drugovic, following the departure of Nico Hulkenberg to Haas.

The 30-year-old has admitted that he will spend most of his free race weekends with Aston Martin, but has suggested that it may take him some time to get back up to speed in a Formula 1 car.

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“When there’s no Formula E race, I’ll probably be in the paddock with Aston Martin,” claimed Vandoorne.

“I haven’t driven a recent Formula 1 car for a while, so in terms of experience, I don’t know what it’s going to be like to jump from one to the other.

“The first time in the Formula 1 car will be tricky, but you get used to it quite quickly.”