McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne to focus on aero work at Austria test
GP2 leader will drive MP4-30 on Tuesday at Red Bull Ring; Alonso at the wheel on final day of second and final in-season test
By William Esler
Last Updated: 22/06/15 5:12pm
Stoffel Vandoorne expects to be focussing on aero work when he drives the McLaren-Honda on Tuesday on the second day of the Austrian in-season test.The runaway GP2 leader will take over the car from Fernando Alonso as the Woking squad seek to recover from a dismal weekend at the Red Bull Ring that saw both MP4-30s take 25-place grid penalties due to engine component changes.
McLaren had brought a revised aero package to Austria which they ran on Fernando Alonso’s car, with the most notable change being a short nose. However, a first lap collision with Kimi Raikkonen robbed the team of valuable mileage to analyse the new parts.
Due to that collision, McLaren switched their running order at the test as Alonso had originally been scheduled to drive on the opening day.
“It is probably going to be a lot of aero work to try and understand the new package McLaren introduced here,” Vandoorne told Sky Sports when asked what he would be testing.
“Monday is our preparation day and then I will have a better idea what it is I’ll be doing on Wednesday.”
With stringent testing restrictions limiting time non-race drivers can get at the wheel, Vandoorne is delighted to have the chance to showcase his F1 abilities, but knows McLaren’s testing work must come first.
“Definitely it is great to have another chance in the car so thanks to McLaren-Honda for that,” he added.
“I’ve driven a car last year so I know more or less what to expect from Formula 1, but of course this is a very different car compared to last year, with a Honda engine as well, so in the beginning I will have to adapt a little bit. But I’m fairly confident I will be on it after not so long and then it is case of being consistent and giving the best feedback I can to help the team forward.”
Vandoorne gave the Honda power unit its first official test at the 2014 post-season running in Abu Dhabi and is impressed with the progress that has been made, despite the troubles the team are still having.
“It is definitely a very big progression they have made since Abu Dhabi testing last year,” he said.
“There is still a long way to go obviously, everybody knows that, but the progression is huge even if it doesn’t always show that. But it is still going to be an ongoing process for the future. We will see where we end up in a couple of months.”
Vandoorne underlined his F1 credentials once again during the GP2 races in Austria, continuing his record of winning every Feature Race in 2015 before coming from eighth to second in the reverse grid Sprint Race. He currently leads the standings by 76 points, having amassed almost double the number of his nearest challenger.
Austria test line-ups
Mercedes: Tuesday: Nico Rosberg; Wednesday: Pascal Wehrlein.
Red Bull: Tuesday: Pierre Gasly; Wednesday: Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari: Tuesday: Antonio Fuoco; Wednesday: Esteban Gutierrez.
Williams: Tuesday: Susie Wolff; Wednesday: Valtteri Bottas.
McLaren: Tuesday: Stoffel Vandoorne; Wednesday: Fernando Alonso.
Force India: Tuesday: Pascal Wehrlein; Wednesday: Esteban Ocon.
Toro Rosso: Tuesday: Max Verstappen; Wednesday: Marco Wittmann.
Lotus: Tuesday: Romain Grosjean; Wednesday: Jolyon Palmer.
Sauber: Tuesday: Raffaele Marciello; Wednesday: Felipe Nasr.
Manor: Not running.