McLaren likely to keep Vandoorne in GP2 next year

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ABU DHABI – McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that the team is likely to keep junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne in GP2 next season despite the Belgian enjoying a sensational rookie year in the series.

Vandoorne, 22, currently ranks second in the GP2 standings with one race remaining, claiming four wins in 2014 and enjoying a run of four straight pole positions to the end of the season – a feat that has never been achieved before.

Few rookie drivers have enjoyed such a successful maiden campaign in GP2, leading some to question whether Vandoorne could be moved up into Formula 1 next season.

However, when asked by MotorSportsTalk whether Vandoorne could be found a seat elsewhere in F1 or perhaps even move straight into a full-time drive at McLaren for 2015, Boullier said that it is unlikely he will be making the step up next season.

“I think to be honest Stoffel has had a very interesting year,” Boullier said. “He has developed massively this year, and is still only unfortunately vice-champion today, or could be still vice-champion.

“I think to have the right slot at the right time in Formula 1, it’s difficult, but I don’t think it’s going to happen next year. So it’s very likely he’s going to have to challenge and stay in GP2 to win the championship as a boss.”

However, the team did confirm that Vandoorne would be driving for McLaren on both days of the final F1 test of 2014 in Abu Dhabi next week, using the Honda-powered MP4-29H/1X1 interim car.

“Stoffel will be driving the car both days,” Boullier said. “We’re going to use the development car to check all of the systems.”