Stoffel Vandoorne says it is an “enormous honour” for him to have been handed a race seat with McLaren-Honda for 2017.
News of Vandoorne's promotion came on Saturday following qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, with McLaren confirming he will replace Jenson Button next season, although the Briton will remain with the Woking-team in a new ambassadorial role, as well as acting as reserve/third driver.
Button replaced by Vandoorne at McLaren for 2017
Vandoorne made his race debut with McLaren earlier this season in Bahrain, drafted in at the last-minute for the injured Fernando Alonso, and going on to finish tenth, joining an exclusive club of drivers to score in their maiden race.
Speaking about his call-up, the 2015 GP2 Series Champion said: “I want to express my gratitude to everyone at McLaren-Honda, and especially Ron, for showing faith in me. I've signed loads of autographs in my career, but, when I inked my signature on my McLaren-Honda contract today, it's safe to say I had an exceptionally special feeling as I picked up my pen to do so.
“It's an enormous honour to become a McLaren-Honda race driver, and I promise to work as hard as any Formula 1 driver ever has before.
“I already know the team extremely well – they're a fantastic group of extremely clever people – and I've already raced the car once and tested it often.
“There are a lot of other people whom I'd like to take this opportunity to thank – too many to list in fact.
“So all I can say is: you know who you are, and thank you.”
Button 'massively excited' about new McLaren role, 'not retiring'
Meanwhile, Vandoorne also went on to say how much he believes in McLaren-Honda and the team's ability to get back to winning ways.
“I have total confidence in the potential of the McLaren-Honda project, and I firmly believe that, racing alongside a brilliant and experienced driver, I'll be able to make a strong contribution to the team's future World Championship successes,” he added.
“I'm not saying when that'll happen, but I'm confident that that's what the McLaren-Honda team will achieve, and I'm determined to do my bit.”
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