Stoffel Vandoorne will join Aston Martin as a test and reserve driver

Stoffel Vandoorne will join Aston Martin as a test and reserve driver

Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso in the McLaren garage after the 2018 Formula 1 German Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne (left) to reunite with former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin

Reigning Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne will join Aston Martin in 2023 as a test and reserve driver.

The former McLaren Formula 1 driver will share the role with Felipe Drugovich, the 2022 Formula 2 champion who joined in September.

Vandoorne, 30, has been Mercedes’ reserve driver since 2019 after losing his place in the McLaren race at the end of last year.

The Belgian said his new role was “incredibly exciting”.

The move reunites him with two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who joins Aston Martin from Alpine next season and who was Vandoorne’s teammate at McLaren in 2017 and 2018.

Vandoorne won the Formula E title with Mercedes this year and, after retiring from the all-electric series, moves to Team DS Penske for the 2022-23 season.

“I have watched with great interest how Aston Martin has grown and expanded operationally and I know how incredibly determined it is to make progress in every area,” he said.

“Joining Fernando, who I already know from my Formula 1 racing career, and Lance (Stroll), to help them develop and improve next year’s car will be an amazing job and I’m really looking forward to challenge – and the reward – of working with the whole organization at Silverstone.”

Vandoorne shared the backup role at Mercedes with Dutchman Nick de Vries, who will race for Alpha Tauri next season.

Current McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo, whose contract is up a year early – he has said he will not race in F1 next year – has been linked with the Mercedes position.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said on Saturday at the Mexico City Grand Prix: “Daniel is talking to a few teams about a possible role, I think Red Bull as well. We like him a lot. He’s a great character but we’re not in a position to decide who will be reserve or third driver.”

Signing Vandoorne is the latest in a series of signs of Aston Martin’s ambition to move up the grid – owner Lawrence Stroll has set the team as a target be able to win by 2025.

Vandoorne is a well-known and accomplished driver who had hints of a successful F1 career before joining McLaren alongside Alonso as the team hit the bottom of a long slump.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said: “Stoffel has all the capabilities we need for this new and expanded role within the team: he is quick, analytical, hard-working and a fantastic team player and will be a perfect fit for the growing our organism. working alongside our other test driver, Felipe Drugovich.

“The whole team is hugely motivated for next year and the appointment of Stoffel, along with Fernando, Lance and Felipe, adds further depth to our fantastic driver line-up.

“This will be an important role for Stoffel and we will rely on him to work hard with both our track teams and our simulation and engineering teams to improve our performance for 2023 and beyond.”

Vandoorne and Brazilian Drugovich replace Nico Hulkenberg in the reserve role at Aston Martin. The experienced German is expected to return to action next year with Haas, replacing Mick Schumacher, although the team insists no decision has yet been made between the two.

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