McLaren's Racing Director Eric Boullier says he has full confidence Stoffel Vandoorne will be competitive in Formula 1 from the first race of the 2017 season.
With Vandoorne stepping into a race seat at McLaren next year, as Jenson Button takes a sabbatical away from F1, the Belgian driver will make his highly-anticipated full-time switch having acted as third and reserve driver for the past two seasons.
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Having already made his F1 debut back in Bahrain when Vandoorne filled in the for the injured Fernando Alonso – where he claimed a points finish in his maiden race – Boullier has assured belief the 24-year-old will adapt instantly and be able to learn from experienced hands in Button and Alonso.
“I think Stoffel in the junior categories did show his talent first, and I am sure he can be in the race,” Boullier said. “He doesn't have the experience of these guys, but he will grow up beating them.
“I think in Bahrain when he stepped in he showed everybody he was ready to race in Formula One. I think next year he will be a little bit of a youngster, which we can develop and he can benefit from the experience of our other two drivers.”
Vandoorne is currently completing a maiden campaign in Japan's Super Formula series where he claimed a race victory in just his fifth outing.
In 2015, the Belgian driver stormed to the GP2 Series championship but found his path to F1 blocked at McLaren with both Button and Alonso under contract at the Woking-based squad.
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