Ex-McLaren racer Vandoorne steps up to Mercedes reserve role

Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), HWA Racelab

Ex-McLaren racer Stoffel Vandoorne has been announced as one of Mercedes' reserve drivers for 2020, having stepped up from his role as the team's simulator driver.

After Esteban Ocon joined Renault full-time for 2020, the Silver Arrows have rejigged their line up, with Vandoorne joining Esteban Gutierrez as a reserve driver for the team.

The Belgian will combine his F1 duties with a full Formula E campaign, where he drives for the Mercedes works team, while Gutierrez will continue to handle simulator and development duties.

Vandoorne has two full seasons of F1 experience under his belt having finished 16th for McLaren in 2017 and 2018 alongside Fernando Alonso, before Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz stepped into the team the following year.

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Ex-Sauber and Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez stays with Mercedes for a third year

Gutierrez, who raced with Sauber from 2013 to 2015 before joining Haas for a year, joined Mercedes in a simulator role for 2018 and remains with the team for a third year. The Mexican fulfils the same role for Mercedes’ Formula E squad as he does for their F1 team.

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“Both Stoffel and Esteban will play an important role in supporting the team’s 2020 challenge with their duties in the factory and at track,” said a release from Mercedes as they launched the W11 – the car set to challenge for a record seventh constructors’ championship.

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