Stoffel Vandoorne has opened up on his time at McLaren when he was paired with two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.
The Belgian made the step up to F1 in 2017 – bar a one-off appearance in ’16 – having won the GP2 Championship in ’15 and many expected he would have a long and successful career in the sport, but having joined McLaren during its low point he struggled to prove his talents and after two seasons was ousted.
Vandoorne was a match for Alonso in his debut season but struggled to perform on the same level in ’18 and now admits he felt unfairly treated, with senior members of McLaren favouring his Spanish team-mate.
“I never had any problems with him [Alonso],” Vandoorne told Sporza.be. “But he always got what he wanted. There were always two, three well-placed people in the team who made sure everything went the way Fernando wanted it to be.
“The team gave him all the support and power. Every driver would have benefited from extra equipment to perform better than his team-mate.
“On paper I never finished in front of Alonso, but of all his team-mates I came closest, even just behind him. McLaren never told me not to finish in front of him, but they asked me in the race to let him pass. They almost always did that.”
Vandoorne switched to Formula E following his F1 exit and now races with Mercedes-Benz EQ. He says the series is “the future” and allows drivers to get away from the politics of F1 and focus on “pure racing”.
“It’s [F1] a bit of a fake world in which everyone gets along well, but above all have their own interests to defend.
“In Formula E, Le Mans or the WEC endurance races you will find pure racing right now. You come here to race, not to do politics.
“Formula 1 remains the largest championship, Formula E is just below that. It is one of the most competitive championships I have already competed in. It’s the future. That’s why you see more and more car manufacturers.”