Vandoorne intent on securing a seat for 2017

Stoffel Vandoorne says he cannot accept another year as a reserve driver and insists he is 100 per cent focused on securing a permanent seat in Formula One

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Stoffel Vandoorne says he cannot accept another year as a reserve driver and insists he is 100 per cent focused on securing a permanent seat in Formula One in 2017.

Vandoorne started as a test driver for British manufacturer McLaren in 2014 while competing in the GP2 series, which he won in 2015.

He left GP2 for Super Formula in 2016, while he was handed his F1 debut in Bahrain as a replacement for Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard's major crash in Australia. 

The 24-year-old Belgian finished in the points in his one and only F1 race to date that weekend, but hopes he can make the jump into a permanent seat for 2017, especially with uncertainty surrounding the future of Jenson Button.

"That's definitely what I'm aiming for," Vandoorne said. "I don't think I'm in a position anymore to accept a reserve driver role anywhere.

"I've done this this year and in the past years I have been testing Formula One cars as well and racing in other series.

"Definitely I need a race drive next year. That's 100 per cent the focus.

"I'm confident there are other opportunities available. I want to be on the grid 100 per cent next year and that's the main focus."

Vandoorne said negotiations with McLaren have been underway for a while and is hoping a decision gets made soon.

"We have been talking for a bit now and at this stage talks are ongoing, but once they can actually take a decision things from there go very quickly," he added.

"I hope we get to that stage very quickly so everybody finds out what is happening."

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