Vandoorne: "Alonso always got what he wanted at McLaren"

22-11-2019 11:44
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
General
Vandoorne: Alonso always got what he wanted at McLaren

Former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne has revealed his then-teammate Fernando Alonso was always in full control at the Woking-based team and "got what he wanted", as the Belgian will start the new Formula E season this weekend.

The 2015 GP2 champion did a stint in Super Formula before substituting in at McLaren for the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix for the injured Alonso. He out-qualified and our-traced Jenson Button in the other McLaren as he finished 10th, making him the first reserve driver to score points on his debut since Sebastian Vettel.

The talent got given a seat for 2017 next to Alonso but never lived up to the hype around him when he came into the sport. He competed in two full seasons and showed flashes of his undeniable talent, but never matched his Spanish teammate. 

In a recent interview, the 27-year-old reflected on his time in Formula 1 as he now gears up for his second season in Formula E.

"I never had problems with him [Alonso], but he always got what he wanted,he revealed to Belgian news outlet Sport/Voetbalmagazine.

"There were always two or three people higher up at McLaren who made sure everything went the way Alonso wanted. The team gave him all of their support and power. Every driver would profit from the extra parts to perform better than his teammate."

Vandoorne famously never beat Alonso in 2018 in qualifying and in races which they both finished, but the Spaniard always praised Vandoorne and insisted the Belgian was the quickest teammate he's had. Vandoorne explains why.

"On paper I never finished ahead of Alonso, but I got closest to him out of all his teammates, right behind him even. McLaren never told me directly to not beat Fernando, but they often asked me to let him pass during races. They almost always did."

Talking about F1 as a whole, Vandoorne clearly isn't impressed by the sport's ever-present politics, although he does concede it still is the biggest championship in motorsport.

"It's a bit of a fake world where everyone gets along but put their own interests first," he continued. 

"In Formula E, Le Mans and WEC you find pure racing. You really go there to race, not for politics.

"Formula E is just below it [Formula 1 as the biggest championship]. It's one of the most competitive classes I've driven in. A lot of drivers have F1 experience and others have the pedigree which could get them into F1."

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