They say that driving a car is like riding a bike – you’ll never forget. But can this be applied to driving an F1 car especially if not having driven since 2018? This is the question Belgian driver, Stoffel Vandoorne faces when he said he feels ready to be a triple reserve driver.
The 28-year-old Belgian, who finished a fantastic season in Formula E driving for Mercedes-Benz EQ and secured second in the championship will switch gears and focus as a reserve driver for Merecedes, McLaren and Racing Point.
Brief history on Vandoorne. Before moving to Mercedes, he competed in Formula One for 2-years at McLaren. Started his maiden grand prix in Bahrain of 2016 as a last minute call-up due to an injured Fernando Alonso feels confident especially with his relationship with the people working at McLaren that he can do the job. According to Motorsport.com, Vandoorne said, "With McLaren I kind of know the people there, because I've been there for a few years driving in F1 with them, so I think it wouldn't be a problem to jump in,”.
When asked about potentially driving in Formula One again, he commented, “sure I can do a good job…I haven’t driven a Formula 1 car in a long time. It would be strange in the beginning, but I’m still quite active with all the work I’m doing at Mercedes in the simulator and travelling to the races as well. So, I’m pretty confident that I would at least know what to expect, let’s say”. A transition from a Formula E to Formula 1 sounds much easier said than done. If taking a look at specs, Formula E cars reach a maximum speed of 174 mph vs a Formula 1 top speed of 230 mph.
Although Vandoorne missed out on a chance to comeback due to Sergio Perez’s recent absence of COVID-19, it’s all wishful thinking for him as he believes that getting called up to drive is like playing an understudy in theatre – filling in a role because something happened to the current driver or the current driver is ill.
This is a tough situation for Vandoorne, but whatever happens, he is ready to step-in when he’s needed.