Vandoorne wants to "get back to winning first" before thinking about F1 comeback

04-10-2019 12:06
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
Vandoorne wants to get back to winning first before thinking about F1 comeback

Former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne has said he wants to focus on winning in Formula E first before thinking about a potential Formula 1 return, with the Belgian teaming up with Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries for Mercedes' works team for the sport's sixth season.

Vandoorne was a very highly-rated prospect when he became a full-time McLaren driver in 2017, replacing Jenson Button at the Woking-based team. However, with the team being in decline as well, Vandoorne struggled to adapt to life in F1 as his obvious talent only showed sporadically. 

At the end of the 2018 season, it was announced Vandoorne would move to Formula E as McLaren opted to have a completely new duo for the 2019 season in Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.

Driving for HWA, Vandoorne had a slow start to the season but picked it up as season five progressed, eventually grabbing his and HWA's first podium in Rome. He finished the season in 16th, comfortably beating teammate Gary Paffett, who will now be replaced by the young De Vries as HWA transitions into Mercedes.

"I wouldn't say that's on my mind right now," Vandoorne told Autosport when asked about a potential Formula 1 return.

"I really feel like I need to get back to winning first again - it's something I've been missing over the past couple of years, and my two years with McLaren haven't helped my case, let's say.

"A lot of people remember the two bad years I had with them, but for me the target is to really be competitive and to be winning as soon as possible again.

"If I manage to do that I'll be in a stronger position. I think the best chance for me to achieve that is right now to be with Mercedes in Formula E, so that's where all my focus goes."

After a year with struggling HWA, having a works team like Mercedes behind him now is massive for Vandoorne, who wants to fight at the top of the pile in season six of Formula E

"Personally, I would like to win, or at least fight for victories," he looked ahead. 

"But we'll see - time will tell. Maybe we are positively surprised in Riyadh - now with everyone having a year of experience as well [with HWA] that will definitely help us move forward quicker."

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