MARINA BAY, Singapore — Stoffel Vandoorne is still waiting on an explanation from McLaren as to why he has been dropped for 2019.
Vandoorne has driven for McLaren for the last two seasons and first received backing from the team in 2013 when he was racing in Formula Renault 3.5. But next year he will be replaced by McLaren junior driver Lando Norris, leaving Vandoorne without a drive in Formula One.
His results have been below par in recent races and he has been outqualified by teammate Fernando Alonso at every round, but Vandoorne said he still expected a proper explanation from team boss Zak Brown.
“Obviously it was the team’s decision, and I have to respect the decision,” he said. “But there hasn’t been a clear explanation why. I think that’s a question for them to see their exact strategy for the future.
He added: “It would be nice to know. But I think there’s not much to explain.”
Brown suggested rivals Toro Rosso should consider the Belgian as a potential race driver for 2019 — comments Vandoorne found unusual given the decision made last week.
“I think it’s a bit strange to see that coming when, you know… they’ve let me go!”
Vandoorne admitted his options for 2019 are “slim” but that he would not give up on his F1 career until all options are closed to him.
“Obviously I know exactly where I stand, my position for next year. At the moment there’s nothing decided for next year, probably similar situation to Esteban [Ocon] let’s say. The driver market has been strange for a couple of weeks know and things are moving. Seats are closing down almost every day.
“The chances to be on the F1 grid next year are very slim, but until everything is fixed I guess you’ve got to keep talking, keep trying, and give everything for it. That’s the only thing I can do at the moment.
“We are exploring some different series as well, which hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will know something more about. Until the Formula One door is closed, you’ve got to keep all the options open. There’s some interesting projects that could become a possibility for next year but at the moment nothing is done, still free agent let’s say.”