Vandoorne happy with Alonso reunion at Aston Martin

Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) Mercedes AMG F1 Reserve Driver. 12.06.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan, Race Day.
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso is not known as one of the easiest drivers to have as a team mate in Formula 1, but he gets two thumbs up from Stoffel Vandoorne who was previously his partner at McLaren.

Vandoorne joined McLaren as a reserve driver after his dominant victory in GP2 in 2015. He was on hand in Bahrain to step in when Alonso was forced to pull out of the 2016 race, having suffered a heavy crash in the previous event.

Vandoorne became Alonso's full-time team mate in 2017 after Jenson Button's retirement, but it was during a troubled spell for the squad whose engine partnership with Honda was going seriously awry.

It proved to be a stressful period for everyone at Woking, and Alonso was conspicuously unhappy with the equipment available to him. But even in these strained times, Vandoorne insisted that Alonso had been a great person to work with.

"The only team mates I had in F1 were Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, both world champions - and Fernando a double champion,” Vandoorne told Mirror Sport this week.

"It's always great as a young driver coming in to work alongside a very experienced driver. "You have to be open minded and see how they approach and build their race weekends.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren and Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren on the drivers parade. 11.11.2018. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race

"Fernando is one of the greatest to do that. I have a great relationship with him," the Belgian driver insisted.

That certainly wasn't always the case between Alonso and his team mates. His stormy relationship with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 is the stuff of Formula 1 legend.

Felipe Massa once accused Alonso of 'splitting' the team during their time together at Ferrari. And most recently, his partnership at Alpine with Esteban Ocon ended in notable public rancour between the pair.

Vandoorne's collaboration with Alonso ended in 2018 when the two-time world champion opted to retire and move to endurance sportscar racing, although he returned to F1 in 2021 and this year will race for Aston Martin.

That will reunite him with Vandoorne, who has been racing in the ABB FIA Formula E world champion where he won the title in 2022 with Mercedes.

Mercedes have since bowed out of the series with the squad being taken over by McLaren. But Vandoorne has moved on and is racing for DS Penske, combining his race duties with a Formula 1 test and reserve role for Aston Martin.


"I was excited to join Aston Martin on a completely different journey," he explained. "It's a team investing a lot of money into the future to try to become one of the leading teams.

"For me, to be a part of that right now helping to develop the car in that direction is great. Hopefully I can help them to become a winning team soon."

The decision means he could actually end up subbing for Alonso again in 2023, or for Lance Stroll if either of the team's full-time drivers are unavailable for any reason.

However it also means that Vandoorne will no longer be a part of the Mercedes organisation, having been a reserve driver at Brackley since 2020.

"In the last couple of years I had my reserve driver role with Mercedes," he acknowledged. "[But] it was a natural change [to join Aston Martin]."

Vandoorne's former role at Mercedes will now be filled by Mick Schumacher, who lost his full-time seat at Haas at the end of 022 after 43 Grand prix outings with the American-based squad.

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