Vandoorne joins Aston Martin as pressure rises for Schumacher

Stoffel Vandoorne

Formula E world champion and ex-McLaren Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne has joined Aston Martin in a test and reserve role.

The Belgian will join the squad in support of race drivers Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso for the 2023 season, sharing the job with Formula 2 champion-elect Felipe Drugovich.

“It is incredibly exciting to be stepping into a reserve-driver role in Formula 1 – and I’m delighted to be doing it with Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team,” the 30-year-old said.

“I’ve watched with great interest how the team has developed and expanded operationally, and I know how incredibly determined it is to make progress in every area.

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

While of comparatively little importance in isolation, the signing of Vandoorne has ripples through the Formula 1 driver market that serve to heap even more pressure on Mick Schumacher.

Previously, Aston Martin has enjoyed a close relationship with Nico Hulkenberg, who has substituted for the operation on a number of occasions since 2020.

That included the opening two events of the 2022 season when Sebastian Vettel was ruled out due to COVID-19.

Hulkenberg has long been touted as a likely replacement for Schumacher at Haas for 2023.

The arrival of Vandoorne at Aston Martin, therefore, implies the German’s services are either no longer needed or no longer available.

Vandoorne will perform simulator duties for the Silverstone-based operation, dovetailing that with his ongoing Formula E commitment with DS Penske.

He is another of a growing list of former McLaren team members to join the squad, following the likes of Martin Whitmarsh, Matt Bishop, Alonso, and a number of other back-room staff.

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