Stoffel Vandoorne Replaces Esteban Ocon as Mercedes F1 Reserve Driver

February 14, 2020 2:24 pm

Stoffel Vandoorne appears to be ticking off several right boxes since the 2019 season. First of all, he moved to Mercedes in 2019 after being ousted from McLaren. Then, the Mercedes Formula E team recruited him for the 2019-2020 season, where he leads the championship.

Now, as per, Vandoorne will take over from Esteban Ocon as the Mercedes F1 reserve driver. Prior to this, he took on the role of simulator driver, alongside his Formula E race driver gig at HWA Racelab. For the current FE season, the Belgian is a factory driver of Mercedes, and he has now been promoted to reserve driver within the Formula 1 team.

Furthermore, with Esteban Ocon jumping ship to Renault as a race driver, it opened the door for the 27-year old. In his new role, Vandoorne will be on standby in case something befell regular drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. The Belgian driver is also delighted with this new position as it puts him a step closer back to Formula 1.

Stoffel Vandoorne and his Formula 1 stint

Stoffel Vandoorne last raced in F1 during the 2017 and 2018 season with the McLaren team. He partnered two-time world champion Fernando Alonso on both occasions, but the Spanish veteran practically wiped the floor with him. Later on, he was brushed aside in favour of a brand new line-up.

When Esteban Ocon left Mercedes, the German team were left scrambling to appoint a new replacement driver. However, Vandoorne had to stave off competition from Esteban Gutierrez, Mercedes test driver for the past two seasons. Another potential candidate was Vandoorne’s Formula E teammate, Nyck de Vries.

However, Vandoore will not have time to celebrate, as the Formula E circus touched down in Mexico for the race. The Belgian driver heads into the round as the championship leader, but has yet to win a race, something that baffled Lando Norris.

Dhruv George

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino. He has been an ardent follower of motorsports sport since 2001, holding Carlos Sainz Jr. and McLaren in high regard.

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