Does Stoffel Vandoorne Have a Legitimate Chance at Williams’ 2022 F1 Seat?

Published 07/25/2021, 8:15 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 24: Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren F1 walks before final practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 24, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)


Stoffel Vandoorne has come a long way since his two full F1 seasons with McLaren that ended three years ago. While the Belgian competes for Mercedes’ Formula E team called Mercedes-EQ, he also serves as a reserve driver for the Mercedes F1 team.

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Although the 29-year-old endured a difficult time at McLaren, he could still be in contention for an F1 seat next year. With George Russell’s future at Williams uncertain, it seems the Belgian could make a strong case for that potentially vacant seat in 2022.

Stoffel Vandoorne among potential candidates for Williams F1 seat for 2022

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Mercedes are in the middle of a huge dilemma for 2022. While they have confirmed Lewis Hamilton as one of their drivers, the second seat continues to raise the biggest question in the drivers’ market. Even though Valtteri Bottas and Russell share the same position as top candidates for that seat, their form speaks otherwise.

Bottas has struggled multiple times in 2021, and Russell has been exceptional in a Williams car that’s far off the midfield, let alone the top. Should the Silver Arrows recruit Russell for 2022, Williams will have a vacant seat in 2022.

Although Bottas would be in contention for that seat, Vandoorne could stake his claim as well. The Belgian shined in three seasons with the Mercedes-EQ team along with his Dutch teammate Nyck de Vries.

SINGAPORE – SEPTEMBER 16: Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren F1 looks on before the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 16, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Moreover, the 29-year-old secured pole position at the ongoing London E-Prix, beating Oliver Rowland’s time by 0.04s. Although he finished the last Formula E season in second place, he looks a much different driver as compared to 2018.

In fact, Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff spoke brightly of the Belgian, admitting he and de Vries deserves a chance in F1. He said, “Stoffel was thrown in a situation with McLaren that was difficult to handle back in the day.

“They both deserve to be Formula 1 and I would very much hope they can find their way back.”

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Could Bottas’ links to Alfa Romeo strengthen Vandoorne’s chances?

Although Bottas could leave Mercedes, Williams aren’t the only team courting the Finn. In fact, Alfa Romeo are also lurking around, with both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi running out of contract after 2021.

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Should Bottas move to Alfa Romeo, Vandoorne’s chances could get a big boost. However, nothing is set in stone in the world of F1, with Vandoorne likely to receive competition from Nico Hulkenberg for that seat.

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These permutations won’t be of much use if Russell stays at Williams. However, with each passing day, it seems less likely that the Silver Arrows will let him stay there in 2022.

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Sanket Nair

632 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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