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McLaren: Vandoorne will push Alonso in F1 2017

Zak Brown: Stoffel is a very mature 24-year-old. I have no doubt he is going to push Fernando, which is going to be healthy for the team
McLaren boss Zak Brown says he has “no doubt” rookie Stoffel Vandoorne will “push” two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso this year.

Vandoorne is gearing up for his first full season, having made his debut last year in Bahrain, where despite being drafted in at the last minute, successfully subbed for the injured Alonso, finishing tenth and joining a relatively exclusive group of drivers to score on their Formula One debut.

Speaking in an interview with The Marshall Pruett Podcast, Brown added that the relationship between Vandoorne and Alonso is currently “very healthy”, although he knows this may well change during the season.

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“They get along very well. They are both kind of head-down and focussed on their own racing [at the moment]. I think they are going to work well together to drive the team forward and while we all know team-mates want to beat each other, they want to beat everyone else too,” he said.

“I don't think either of them is the type who is going to be too excited about beating their team-mate if they're eighth or ninth. I think their primary agenda or focus is about getting to the front of the field, and then worrying about each other.”

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“Stoffel is a very mature 24-year-old. I have no doubt he is going to push Fernando, which is going to be healthy for the team. I've seen that to be a very healthy relationship.

“I don't think that will change, but as we all know in motor racing most of the team-mates get to each other and whether it is [Ayrton] Senna and [Alain] Prost or [Nico] Rosberg and [Lewis] Hamilton, it becomes tricky.

“But I am looking forward to the competition between them and look forward to helping manage it through some inter-team rivalries which no doubt we will have.

“We are just going to try to keep it healthy.”

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by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
03.09.2016 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jenson Button
24.11.2016 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver
25.11.2016 - Free Practice 2, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver
27.11.2016 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver and Zak Brown (USA) McLaren Executive Director

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February 13, 2017 12:13 AM

I have no doubt Vandoorne will challenge Alonso on occasion. He is just that good. But Zak should tone down the rhetoric a little. Invoking images of Senna versus Prost is probably stretching things a little for a rookie driver yet to win a race and placed in a team that will be fortunate to see the podium this season.

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