Despite an encouraging rookie F1 season in 2014, the Dane had to step back to a reserve driver role this year following Fernando Alonso’s return to Woking.
Apart from deputising for the injured Spaniard in Australia, Magnussen has not raced competitively in 2015 and actually missed out on an IndyCar drive because of the late Melbourne call-up. When it became clear that he would not race for McLaren-Honda in 2016, the 23-year-old parted ways with the British team.
Vandoorne confirms that he will take his former Formula Renault 3.5 Series title rival's position next year, but equally insists on his willingness not stay idle on the sidelines.
“I definitely want to race something next year, but what it will be we don’t know yet,” he told the official McLaren website. “There’s definitely some options though, and we’re talking about them.
“I’m going to be test and reserve driver at McLaren anyway, which is a good position to be in.
“Obviously I want to race something next year as well, to say sharp, to stay fit, and to stay focused, so we’ll see what comes out.”
Recently attending the Mexican Grand Prix, Vandoorne had been asked by F1i whether he felt even more pressed to race in 2016 in the light of Magnussen’s short-lived McLaren career.
“Yes, I think it is a little bit of an example,” the 23-year-old had replied. “I do feel I have to do at least something next year, just to stay sharp, to stay fit. At least if an opportunity arises in F1 you’re ready to jump in.”
The Belgian rising star is already lined up to test in Japan’s Super Formula series, while the only remaining vacancies in F1 are the two Manor seats.
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