Stoffel Vandoorne has been ruled out as a candidate for Toro Rosso’s remaining vacant seat, with Dr Helmut Marko delivering a brutal assessment of the Belgian’s talents. Vandoorne is on the lookout for employment in 2019 after being dropped by McLaren in favour of teenager Lando Norris.
Vandoorne stepped up full-time to Formula 1 in 2017 with a superb junior career behind him, including championship wins in GP2 and Super Formula.
However, the Belgian has struggled badly, as McLaren have saddled him with an uncompetitive car, which Fernando Alonso has vastly outperformed him in.
Alonso has outqualified Vandoorne in all 16 races in 2018 and finished a race behind his teammate only once – figures which Marko says Red Bull have no interest in.
“We will not take Stoffel,” Marko told RTBF. “I think he’s just not fast enough for F1.”
Vandoorne is reportedly set to sign a deal to race with HWA in Formula E’s fifth campaign.
The German squad has strong links to Mercedes, having effectively served as the German brand’s DTM team for almost two decades and Toto Wolff hinted that the Belgian has fans in Stuttgart.
“I have always liked Stoffel, a brilliant driver in the junior categories,” said Wolff.
“We must now try to understand why it did not work for him in F1, but maybe there could be some news about him soon.
“I think his character and speed would work very well at Mercedes, but for now we will have to see.”
Vandoorne’s other options lie with joining Alonso in IndyCar or exploring other racing series. The Belgian is a talented driver and it would be a shame to see such talent go to waste. McLaren’s two seats will be filled by Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr. and several other spots are filling up fast.