The driver market for 2019 has been thrown wide open after Ricciardo’s Renault move and has left the futures of some drivers uncertain. The biggest loser seems to be Vandoorne and McLaren believe that he is not challenging Alonso enough.
“I wouldn’t say we’re disappointed by Stoffel. You’d like to see him beating his teammate more often than he has”,said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
“That’s the same in any situation. You’d love to see your teammates split right down the middle in beating each other every weekend.”
But he admitted that the car’s weakness also played its part. “He’s not been able to do that on a regular basis but I wouldn’t say we’re disappointed because last year we know we gave him a very difficult situation and this year we’ve not given him a very good car to work with.”
Alonso has spent 17 years in F1 and so his experience is what helps him, believed Brown. “Given Fernando’s talent and experience he’s able to adapt to situations that aren’t great.”
“We all believe Stoffel’s done an excellent job but we would like to see him beat Fernando more often.”
McLaren enjoyed a decent start to the season, with Alonso finishing in the points before the rut started to set in at Monaco. He retired in the next GP at Canada too and has struggled with the car since.
Vandoorne, on the other enjoyed a good end to the previous season but seems to have regressed, and as Brown mentioned, has hardly looked competitive to beat Alonso.
For now, his seat looks less than secure, with McLaren admitting that they may be looking for two replacement drivers. They are not short of options on that front.
Among the current grid, Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon are viable options while their test driver, Lando Norris could also be promoted to a race seat.