Vandoorne retains McLaren seat for 2018
McLaren have confirmed that rookie Stoffel Vandoorne will be retained for the 2018 Formula One season.
The Belgian has endured a difficult start to his F1 career, securing only one point for the struggling Woking-based team.
Doubts remain over Fernando Alonso's McLaren future, but Vandoorne will head into his home grand prix this weekend safe in the knowledge that he is staying on for at least another year.
The 25-year-old said: "I'm delighted that the team has now formally announced that I will continue to race for them next year, because I'll be able to approach the second half of my rookie season with total focus on the job in hand: namely getting the very most I can out of my car, my engineers, and everything and everyone around me.
"I've already learned such a huge amount in the first half of my first season in Formula 1 – from my engineers, from my mechanics, from Eric [Boullier], from Zak [Brown] and from Jonathan [Neale], and also from Fernando, who is a brilliant driver and also an excellent team-mate."
McLaren racing director Boullier backed Vandoorne to repay the faith shown in him.
"When we announced at the end of 2016 that Stoffel would be a McLaren Honda race driver for 2017, we indicated that our plan was that he’d race for us for a number of years," he said.
"That plan hasn't changed, and I'm very happy therefore to be able to confirm that he'll continue to race for us next season.
"Like all rookies, he's had to learn a lot in the first half of his first Formula 1 season, but we have great confidence in him, and he's getting better and better all the time.
"His team-mate is a tough opponent – that's an understatement in fact, because he's arguably the best driver in the sport today – but Stoffel's robust talent and fierce ambition make us sure that he'll achieve great successes with us in the future."