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BEYOND THE GRID: Stoffel Vandoorne on his dramatic F1 debut, his tough exit and much more

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A multiple title winner at junior level and a point scorer on his unexpected F1 debut in 2016, Stoffel Vandoorne seemed on track for a long and prosperous career in Formula 1.

But his big break at McLaren in 2017 – following on from that unexpected one-off appearance in Bahrain in 2016 – arrived during one of the team’s most challenging periods, as he explains on this latest episode of F1's Beyond The Grid.

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They finished second-last in the standings during Vandoorne’s first season, endured a difficult transition from Honda to Renault engines the following year, and there was huge organisational change at the top as Zak Brown came in as CEO.

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After just seven points finishes in two years, with a best result of P7, Vandoorne was replaced by Lando Norris for 2019 and he hasn’t raced in F1 since.

Now a Test and Reserve driver for Aston Martin, the Belgian tells podcast host Tom Clarkson how he prepared for his first race in F1 at such short notice, the drama of signing his first McLaren contract and where it all went wrong during his two seasons on the grid.

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He also explains what impact those struggles had on his mental wellbeing, his motivation and enjoyment of racing. There's also time to delve into the work ongoing at Aston Martin, what the 2024 car is like to drive in the sim, and what the atmosphere is like at a team seemingly going places.

To listen to this week’s episode of Beyond The Grid, simply hit go on the audio player above or click here to listen via your preferred podcasting platform.

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