Vandoorne thankful for Alonso’s advice ahead of F1 debut

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Stoffel Vandoorne has thanked McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso for his advice ahead of his planned Formula 1 debut in Bahrain this weekend.

Alonso was deemed unfit to race in Bahrain following his horrific 200 mph crash in Australia two weeks ago that has left the Spaniard with a fractured rib.

McLaren announced on Thursday that 2015 GP2 champion Vandoorne would be deputizing for Alonso this weekend, marking his full F1 debut.

Vandoorne enjoyed his first on-track running on Friday, finishing 11th in second practice, and he was thankful for the advice that Alonso had offered.

“I really want to enjoy this opportunity and I’m very excited about the chance I’m getting,” Vandoorne said.

“Fernando has been around all day beside me and with the engineers, and has been giving me some great advice. We have a great team and I know a lot of the guys around here, so it makes my life a little bit easier to come and work with them.

“It’s definitely not an ideal situation to just jump in the car without any testing, but so far this Friday has been very good during both practice sessions. I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable, and tomorrow I think that progression is going to continue.

“I felt very prepared today – I’ve done a lot of simulator work over the last few months at the factory. Since I got the call, I’ve done a lot of learning with the engineers, about how to set up the car, and also how to operationally bring the car home during the race.

“It’s been a busy day, but everything went fine. Bahrain is a track I really enjoy and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”