McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne has been consistently outperformed by teammate Fernando Alonso in all their years of partnership. In fact, many would believe that the Belgian is seriously underperforming.
However, he does have an admirer in the form of Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul. The Frenchman has said that he is keeping a firm eye on Vandoorne as he assesses the team’s driver line-up going forward.
Current driver Carlos Sainz could be eyeing a seat at Red Bull in case Daniel Ricciardo leaves at the end of the season. This will create a vacancy with the Enstone team.
Stoffel’s future at McLaren is still uncertain at this stage. So far, he has failed to mount any serious challenge to team-mate Fernando Alonso.
But, in the event that the Belgian does leave McLaren, Renault could be waiting with open arms.
“Do not say that Stoffel will join Renault because it is absolutely not the case,” Abiteboul said.
“But he is a driver that we look at. When I wonder about the possible options, I take Vandoorne into consideration.”
He also suggested a change in environment could help Vandoorne realise his potential.
He added: “I think his situation is quite difficult. I don’t know the ins and outs, but sometimes a change of environment allows a driver to get the oxygen to bounce back.
“He was fast, talented, consistent in all of the lower categories and there is no reason for all that to disappear.
“But when you have Fernando next door it’s complicated, especially in McLaren’s circumstances of recent years.
“But he is a high level driver that we can look at in the future, depending on how our situation evolves.”
McLaren have the opportunity to extend both their drivers’ contracts for the 2019 season. But the question is, will they extend both?