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Stoffel Vandoorne to leave McLaren at the end of 2018

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McLaren has confirmed Stoffel Vandoorne will leave the team at the end of the 2018 Formula One season.

Vandoorne has driven full-time for McLaren since the start of 2017 and made his debut with the team during a one-off drive at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2016. His future had been in doubt after a series of lacklustre results this year before his chances of remaining at the team took another hit when the team announced Carlos Sainz as Fernando Alonso's replacement for 2019.

McLaren has not yet confirmed the identity of Vandoorne's replacement, but the news means the team will have a completely new driver line-up at the start of next season.

"We're immensely thankful for Stoffel's dedication, hard work and commitment during his time at McLaren," McLaren CEO Zak Brown said. "He's a talented racing driver with an incredible list of accolades in his junior career. We're proud to have played a part in his break into Formula 1, from his role as Test Driver to his fantastic points-scoring debut in Bahrain in 2016.

"It's clear we haven't provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, but throughout our relationship he's proved to be a fantastic team player. His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we've really enjoyed working with him. Of course, we would have loved to achieve more success during our time together, but that doesn't detract from the fact that he will always be a part of the McLaren family of grand prix drivers.

"For now, we look to the future and to the remaining grands prix in 2018, where I know both Stoffel and Fernando will be pushing hard to fight for as many points as possible before we close the curtain on this season.

"We wish Stoffel all the best in whatever direction he chooses to take next in his career, and we'll be supporting him all the way. We will announce our full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course."

Vandoorne added: "I'm very grateful to McLaren for investing their faith in me over the past five years. I joined McLaren as a young driver and have since seen my career progress within the team from Test and Development Driver to Reserve Driver and then to full-time race driver.

"While we haven't achieved the success we'd all hoped for, I've really enjoyed the past two seasons racing for McLaren and I have a great relationship with everyone in the team.

"My time at McLaren has been a great chapter in my career and I'm thankful for the opportunity the team, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa and Mansour Ojjeh have given me to gain valuable Formula 1 experience and develop as a driver. I intend to give it my all for the remaining seven races of this season, and will announce my plans for next season in due course."

McLaren reserve and test driver Lando Norris has been confirmed as Vandoorne's replacement for next season. The British teenager has been handed a promotion following his impressive Formula 2 campaign, where he sits second in the championship and strong outings for the team at the test in Hungary last month.